Review – TriLinea ReAct

TriLinea ReAct from Tendi is a match-three kind of game, but don’t let that put you off as it’s actually quite good.

There were issues with the controls when the game was released. With the face buttons used for casting spells, the “rotate” and “drop” controls were mapped to RB and RT respectively. This sounds fine enough, but was actually near impossible to deal with, the player constantly pressing the wrong of the two buttons. Luckily, a patch sorts that out and now you can drop your piece by pressing the right analogue stick downwards, which works very well indeed. The patch also adds an option for the colourblind so they can have fun with it too. If you tried it before and didn’t enjoy it, give it another go.

Games take place on an 8×8 grid, either alone or competitively. But mainly the latter. Unlike Bejeweled or Zookeeper, though, there’s no switching pieces around here. It’s more like Columns or any number of other such games, just played in a square, with both players using the same board.

The bulk of the game is in its challenge mode, which gives you a task, usually also a time limit, and tells you to get on with it. These can be things like clearing a certain number of pieces, achieving a certain combo, winning a duel, or many other things. You earn stars for each challenge you complete based on the difficulty you’re playing on, and more stars unlocks more levels.

Each set of levels takes place on a grid with an incredible looking backdrop, using clear, brightly coloured tiles. Everything is very easy to see and make sense of, and the only real presentation issue comes during duels where the piece you’re holding and the piece  your opponent is holding can often get in the way of each other or obscure something on the board you need to see, which can lead to some awkward moments.

There’s a lot of focus on the duels in the game, and this is where the game really wants you to be, the powerups are simply useless in any other mode. As well as all the duels in the challenge mode, you can play locally against a friend, or over the internet on Xbox LIVE. The duels are a lot of fun, though obviously more so when you’re playing against another human. There are a few different modes you can duel in. A standard mode simply reduces your opponents hit points when you match three tiles, and does more damage for matching more tiles or achieving combos.

You can also activate a number of spells in this mode, things like lightning bolts that you can smash tiles with, a gravity altering power-up that makes the tiles fall to the top instead of the bottom, or other things that can hinder your opponent, by making the piece they’re holding lose its colour, for example. They add a really interesting element to battles and ensure that you’re going to be there for hours with revenge on your mind.

One online mode takes elements of duels and challenges and mixes it all together to great effect. In mission mode, you will compete with another player on the same grid over a number of short tasks like achieving combos, or placing pieces. If you win a task, you get a point, and the player with the most points at the end wins. It’s the best of the multiplayer modes.

It’s not perfect, but it’s easily the most polished, content-rich game of its type on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, and if you’re looking for a competitive match-three type of game, this is really the only game you need to look at because you won’t have played another match-three like it.

TriLinea ReAct is available now for 400 Microsoft Points.

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