7 Wonders II Review
It's extremely hard to trump a game designer's concept when it did so well for its intended genre. For instance, developers have been releasing Tetris games for years, though very few have managed to come close to Alexei Pajitnov's original (though, to be fair, we do like the multiplayer-oriented PlayStation Network edition). Likewise, everyone that has tried to copy PopCap Games' Bejeweled has come up short in one degree or another. And that's the case with MumboJumbo's 7 Wonders II, which simply doesn't offer anything genuinely unique. That doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable though.
The game takes you on a world tour of sorts, visiting landmarks from such places as England and Italy. When you arrive in each stage, it's your job to match up three or more gems in order to place white rune markers on the background. Once you manage to make all the tiles white, you move on to the next area.
Along the way, you'll run into the occasional obstacle. An unchangeable block will appear once in a while, and the only way to deal with it is to shift it to the bottom of the screen, where it will cause the least harm. There are also power-ups that pop up every so often, though their effects are usually short-lived. That's not saying they don't serve their purpose, though.
7 Wonders II's visuals are hardly original, but they are charming. As you proceed to move around gems on the bottom screen, characters run around on top, so you're not just looking at a static wallpaper. The music is pretty good too, though hardly original. Hey, I'll take familiar, comfortable tunes over grating elevator-muzak style mush any day.
Quest Mode is the main highlight of 7 Wonders II, as you proceed from world locale to world locale, clearing the stages and moving on. There is also a Free Play mode, where you can revisit completed stages at any time, if you feel the need to return to them and shoot for a faster finishing time. Aside from that, there are no other mode offerings. No big multiplayer competitions (a big disappointment for a game of this stature), no bonus modes (like Tetris has on PSN), not even any unlockables to make you feel like you completed your worldwide journey. Then again, what do you expect from a budget-priced title? Corners are expected to be cut.
7 Wonders II probably shouldn't be your first choice for mobile puzzle gaming, especially if you have a copy of Tetris DS or Bejeweled Blitz. However, if you're limited on funds and seeking something a little more international in your gem matching, this is a safe bet.