Atlantis Adventure is a new match-three game from Social Quantum, the team behind the city-builder, Megapolis. The gameplay is as expected as it gets in the match-three genre — a healthy blend of Bejeweled and Candy Crush. All that really makes Atlantis Adventure unique is thematic — it’s Atlantean setting and the story surrounding it. Indeed, there’s a bit more story than you’d usually find in such a puzzler, and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
There’s only so much you can do to shake up the match-three genre before your game isn’t in the genre anymore. In that sense, every match-three game is pretty derivative and owes its mechanics to the major successes before it. Successes like Puzzle Quest and Candy Crush Saga demonstrate that there’s still room for the genre to grow after Bejeweled took off in 2001. Atlantis Adventure just doesn’t do much to push the envelope at all. The core gameplay is as uninspired as it gets — right down to the fact that you are literally matching colorful gems.
I like the idea of an Atlantis-themed game, but the execution doesn’t exactly scream Atlantis to me. The tiles being gems doesn’t especially fit the Atlantean setting. The execution just isn’t there. Outside of the tile-matching, a map much like the one in Candy Crush links all the levels together. The map shows some Atlantean characters — some elemental golems and a white-haired princess not unlike the one in Disney’s 2001 take on Atlantis. Every few levels you advance, you’ll find a page from the diary of the mysterious man who visited before you. As you discover more pages, various mysteries about Atlantis are revealed. The pages are short and kind of a chore to read — both because the handwriting isn’t very legible and because the content just isn’t that interesting. There’s just no reason for the Atlantis theme the way it has been implemented. It doesn’t make the game more interesting. It doesn’t make the mechanics easier to understand. It isn’t strong enough to make Atlantis Adventure a better match-three choice than any other one out there.
Okay, so it’s obvious I was disappointed by Atlantis Adventure. Before I conclude, I’d at least like to call out the one thing about it I did appreciate. Like many of its free-to-play brethren, Atlantis Adventure gives players consumable boosters they can use to clear those really hard levels. Atlantis Adventure has a huge selection of boosters, more than I’ve ever seen before. You very nearly unlock a new booster every single level. A huge variety of boosters means there’s some pretty clever ones in the mix too. You’ve got standard ones like “destroy any one tile” but then you’ve got some fun ones like “swap any two tiles on the board” or “rewind the board to its previous state”. There are a ton of levels in Atlantis Adventure, and I can only assume there are a ton of boosters I didn’t see beyond the bunch I did get to play with.
Atlantis Adventure is certainly not the best match-three ever that it claims to be. Far from it, in fact. I’d highly suggest passing this one up. It’s not that it does anything terribly, but it doesn’t do anything great either. It’s strictly mediocre. As I mentioned previously, it’s uninspired and ultimately disappointing. I’m not sure what Social Quantum is hoping to accomplish with a new match-three game that doesn’t do a single thing better than the reigning champion (that’d be Candy Crush, by the way). Indeed, Atlantis Adventure has lots of levels with several different types of objectives, but none of it is new. Trust me, your tile-matching time will be much better spent outside of Atlantis.