Release Date: November 26, 2021
You would think, based on the sheer quantity of match-3 titles out there, that match-3 was a very popular genre, but as they fall under the umbrella of “casual” gaming, I find that most people who consider themselves to be into video games barely consider these to be video games at all. I’ve always had a soft spot for these types of games, though.
It’s rare, however, to find match-3 titles where the gameplay loop itself isn’t pretty much the only thing to recommend them, and Huntress: The Cursed Village doesn’t have much else going for it. The gameplay is interesting enough, but the story is threadbare and the writing is absolutely painful.
You play as the Huntress, who returns home to find that her village (with her father inside of it) has been cursed, and she will have to puzzle fight her way through many levels to lift the curse and save the village. Not exactly a new or interesting story. However, the mechanics are just varied enough to keep you on your toes – depending on the type of curse on the level, you’re going to need a somewhat different strategy to clear enough obstacles to proceed.
Making a match of four grants you a bomb tile, and making a five match gives you a chain tile. On certainly levels, like ones that have ghosts as pictured above, you will need those special tiles, as those are one of only two ways of removing the obstacles from the board. Other hazards will just require you matching on or next to the affected tiles, like the bats, pictured below.
The other method of clearing these problem tiles is by using your spells, which charge automatically as you make matches. The first spell will eliminate any single tile on the board (triggering a bomb or chain tile, if that’s the one you choose). The second clears a horizontal line of your choice, and the third will randomly take out a whole bunch of tiles. The more destruction a spell provides, the longer it takes to recharge.
As you proceed through the levels, each building you need to de-curse will culminate in a level that requires you to deal with all of the obstacle-types you’ve seen individually, while trying to make matches on pink colored tiles. If you run out of viable moves, have no charged spells, or the entire screen becomes pink colored tiles, you will lose the level. However, as soon as you clear the requisite number of afflicted tiles, the level will end with a prompt to banish the monster, but these monsters just won’t stay gone.
Huntress: The Cursed Village seems to be a competent match-3 title, with interesting and varied mechanics. It’s somewhat challenging, and has 77 levels which rotate between the five monster types. It also is pretty reasonably priced, and is a decent value for fans of the genre, as long as they’re okay with the weak framework.
SteamDB estimates that Huntress: The Cursed Village has sold between 120 and 330 copies on Steam. There have been almost no reviews, but the few it has gotten have recommended it. It is ranked 3804 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.