capsule review

Super Collapse 3

Super Collapse was one of the first “match three” puzzle games to make a big splash on the Mac and PC when it debuted a few years ago. Addictive gameplay and simple mechanics—the best possible combination for a casual puzzler—explains why. Now Super Collapse is back in its third major iteration, and it’s bigger and more challenging than ever.

In Super Collapse 3, your job is to make bricks disappear. You do that by trying to get find three of them in adjacent locations (horizontal and vertical) that share the same color. Find a contiguous shape of blocks and you can click on them to make them disappear, and collect points. Do this enough and you’ll win the level. Let them pile up to the top and you’re finished.

Some might argue (perhaps correctly) that the “match three” puzzle genre is just about tapped out. But Super Collapse 3 steps up the challenge in two different ways—first of all, there are not just three or four but seven unique game styles. Secondly, they’re available for you in the Quest mode, if you’re clever and perseverant enough to uncover them all.

In the Classic mode, you scour the game board looking for adjacent blocks and click on them, trying to “beat the clock” as new lines build underneath the game play area. Each level has a specific number of lines you have to clear before proceeding. Relapse confounds you by making blocks enter from the top and bottom. Strategy doesn’t time you but requires you to think ahead, because every action you take makes the blocks tick upward. Puzzle requires you to clear the entire game board, which makes you think through how making groups of blocks disappear will affect what’s left. Slider is a fully animated mode in which blocks move from side to side, and you have to click on them when you see groups of three or more pass by each other. Continuous makes blocks come in at random from all sides, and Countdown is a two-minute race for the high score.

Each of these different game modes is available to you in the Quest mode, in which you visit ten different realms, such as an underwater land or a snowy landscape, making your way from point to point by finishing the puzzle that came before it.

Occasionally, you’ll find powerups within the puzzles that will help you. Row bombs will blast entire rows of blocks, for example; the Hourglass temporarily halts things. Colored bombs will make all blocks of that color disappear.

With each puzzle you successfully complete, you’re awarded coins that you can spend in shops that you’ll find along your journey. These shops contain powerups you can buy for your own use in emergencies, hints, and even ways to unlock new puzzle modes that you will be able to play without going through the Quest process in the Quick Play mode.

If you do particularly well, like when you clear an entire region of the map, you’re awarded trophies that you can review in the Trophy Room. High scores can be posted on the Internet, too.

Super Collapse 3 saves in between each level, so you can quit and return to it any time you want. There’s even support for multiple players who each want to keep track of their individual progress.

Best of all, Super Collapse 3 is a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs.

The bottom line

It’s hard to top a classic, and Super Collapse 3 doesn’t disappoint. It’s loads of fun for gamers that haven’t gotten tired of the “match three” action puzzle genre.

Bombs away Clicking the white or red bombs will make those color blocks vanish in an instant.
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