Game Review: Treasures Of Montezuma Blitz (PS Vita)

Treasures Of Montezuma Blitz PS Vita

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is a puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. The game sees you matching tokens across a board to attempt a personal best high score for every round that you play.

There is only one game mode, but there are enough processes and variants within the game to keep it fresh. The game sees you matching tokens (the equivalent of gems) in sets of three, although if you achieve a matching set of four or more tokens you will earn a bonus and if you destroy tokens using the bonus you will activate another bonus resulting in a snowball effect that could potentially lead to a much higher score. In order to activate a totem you are required to match tokens twice consecutively of the same colour as the totem you have chosen. There is a score frenzy mode that when activated will act as a multiplier for any tokens you are able to match within the period of time that the score frenzy mode is active. Your progression towards activating the score frenzy mode is displayed by grains of sand within the bar on the left side of the screen, which will gradually increase in size until you have reached the top of the bar, as you match more tokens. If you simultaneously match six tokens together, you will enter kickout mode in which you destroy tokens using the rear touch pad.

Dark mode is activated if you had previously had kickout mode and score frenzy mode activated simultaneously, which provides you with additional time at the end of the round. Matching tokens that contain a crystal within the centre of a token activates the points multiplier with the more crystals collected resulting in a higher points multiplier which in turn leads to a higher overall score. Matching tokens that contain a pair of clock hands within the centre of a token activates the timer adder bonus with the more time adder bonuses collected resulting in a longer period of time to play the game in that particular session which in turn leads to the potential of a higher overall score. Matching tokens that have coins circling them activates the score multiplier bonus, which multiplies the score for the token it is attached to. Matching tokens that contain a magnifying glass activates the hint bonus, which temporarily reveals all of the available moves for matching tokens for a few seconds by displaying a series of arrows pointed in the direction of where the token needs to move in order to create a matching set of three or more tokens. If at anytime you cannot find anymore matching tokens; the tokens can be shuffled during a round by tapping the shuffle button situated on the in game menu to the right of the screen. For anyone not familiar with all of the game mechanics; there is a help menu consisting of eighteen screens worth of tips that is situated on the bottom right of the options menu, which itself is located on the bottom right of the main menu and in-game menu as you are playing a round.

You are challenged to gather crystals and multipliers to allow you to progress with your high score to then re-invest those crystals in upgrades, which you can purchase now with your crystals or wait until you attain a particular level when you will receive an upgrade as a reward for levelling up. Levelling up is always a long work in progress, as it usually takes hours of gameplay with many rounds played before you really build momentum in how fast you are able to level up via the help of upgrades. Upgrades are essentially power ups that provide various abilities during rounds. An example of this is the red totem that destroys several tokens with fireballs, which after some upgrades is now available to be upgraded further to provide additional power to its abilities at a cost of 12,575 crystals, but it can be rented for a game at a cost of 150 crystals or you can wait to unlock it naturally by playing until you have levelled up to level 25. There are seven totems and six bonuses to collect and upgrade to improve the power of the abilities that the totems and bonuses provide.

Totems and bonuses can be added to a limited number of slots per round, which enables you to activate that totem or bonus at anytime that you feel it would be appropriate to during a round to maximise what you are able to get out of that totem or bonus in order to increase your high score. The totems include the red totem that destroys several tokens with fireballs; the blue totem that destroys several tokens with balls of lightning; the green totem that releases every gem on the game board; the orange totem that adds time to a level; the purple totem that adds bonuses to the game board; the yellow totem that adds 3,000 points to your score and is affected by all multipliers; and the white totem that repaints several tokens in one colour. The bonuses include the dynamite bonus that destroys adjacent tokens; the lightning bonus that strikes every token to the above, to the left and to the right from it with lightning; the colour burst bonus that destroys two-thirds of the tokens that match its colour; the added crystals bonus that allows up to five gems on the game board at once; the profit crystals bonus that increases the number of points for one gem on the game board to 1,000 points; and the longer frenzy bonus that prolongs the score frenzy time to twelve seconds and multiplies the score by two.

There are a number of ways to earn crystals (the currency of the game). You can earn crystals in the game itself or through a free daily scratch card mini game in which scratching off particular symbols with a rubbing motion of your finger on the Vita’s touch screen will reward you with the corresponding amount of crystals ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 crystals. In a feature not found in many games (if any beyond this game) is being rewarded for not playing the game for a number of days by receiving crystals, hearts and double XP points for the amount of games equivalent to the number of days that you have not played the game for to help get you back on track. The main menu provides an insight into a tournament that keeps you up to date with the scores that your friends from your PSN friends list are achieving for that particular week. If you have the highest score at the end of the week you will be rewarded with a medal based upon your position (gold for first, silver for second and bronze for third), crystals and hearts, along with an update on where you rank amongst your PSN friends.

Microtransactions have been implemented to buy in-game currency from the PlayStation Store to be able to purchase more upgrades and a lives refill. The cost of the microtransactions include purchasing 3,000 crystals for £1.59; 8,000 crystals for £3.19; 15,000 crystals for £4.79; 30,000 crystals for £7.29; 100,000 crystals for £12.99 and a lives refill for £0.21. As you lose one heart for each time you play a round; it effectively means that if you have 80 hearts and you play 80 or so consecutive rounds, you will most likely be left with no hearts remaining and no way to play the game, unless you wait for your heart meter to recharge or dip into your wallet to buy hearts in order to continue playing the game without any further waiting. I am sure that there will also be impatient people that want to be able to have enough in-game currency to purchase upgrades for totems and bonuses that may be tempted to splash out on the 100,000 crystals super pack for £12.99, but I would only recommend purchasing upgrades with in-game currency that you earn by playing the game, rather than taking these shortcuts that overly inflate the cost of the game.

The controls are simplistic and are focused around the touch screen with only two simple taps of the touch screen required in order to swap two of the tokens around to make a matching cluster of three or more tokens. The rear touch pad comes into play when kickout mode is activated with you having to destroy tokens using the rear touch pad and when dark mode is activated with you having to attempt to light up the board with the rear touch pad, so you can continue to match tokens with the touch screen.

The graphics are simplistic as you would expect from a gem matching game, but the tribal setting adds a certain level of graphical detail to the look of the game that helps to bring the overall game to life. The audio consists of tribal music and lots of sound effects that develops a sense of atmosphere whenever a major event occurs in a round, such as a huge chain reaction of tokens being matched together at once or a large multiplier being achieved.

The presentation of the game is good with a touch screen based user interface, but unfortunately does not provide any support for the directional pad, analogue sticks or face buttons across any of the menus or gameplay.

The trophy list includes thirteen trophies with nine bronze, three silvers and one gold trophy. The difficulty of the trophy list is purely based upon your level of perseverance as it is most likely that the majority of the trophies will individually take you a long time to earn and in some cases; not count towards any of the other trophies. There are some easier trophies such as earning enough experience to level up and earning no crystals during a round. It is most likely that based upon the nature of the trophies that it would take over one-hundred hours to 100% the trophy list.

There is no online or ad-hoc multiplayer modes, but there are online leaderboards. The leaderboards include a friends and a global leaderboard providing worldwide rankings, levels and the total amount of crystals accumulated across all gameplay.

The replayability of Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is provided by all of the various totems, bonuses, multipliers, upgrades and levelling up that all provide a feeling of unpredictability regardless of how many rounds you have played previously with the online leaderboards and weekly tournaments providing a pick up and play and “just one more go” kind of feel to the game, which could result in you being entertained for the duration of your train journey to work in the morning or pulling you in to playing for hours at a time.

Overall, despite being a free download; the implementation of microtransactions may actually put some people off from playing the game, but Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is an addictive game that does not really require you to pay for in-game currency and hearts; all you have to do is to return to the game every few days and it will suitably take care of that situation for you by providing you with in-game currency and hearts without the use of you having to reach into your wallet. Microtransactions are the only negative in an otherwise very enjoyable and addictive game that I highly recommend you try out for free without the use of any of the microtransactions.

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: Treasures of Montezuma Blitz
  • Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Online Leaderboards
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 256Mb (Version 1.80)

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