Woah. At first glance Kingsman: The Golden Circle on mobile is another game on a pages long list of match-3 puzzlers with a combat focus. From Puzzle Quest to Star Trek: The Wrath of Gems, to Pokemon Shuffle to WWE Champions, the genre is as tried, true, and comfortable as a well-tailored suit.
Traditionally the thrust of these games is to layer in IP specific tropes to the gameplay. In WWE Champions gem colors correspond to various wrestling related skills. In Star Trek: Wrath of Gems, the gems correspond to various starship systems, and so on.
Some games innovate a little – Pokemon Shuffle lets you move a gem anywhere on the board you want and swap them that way, for example.
What Kingsman: The Golden Circle does is refreshing and it will break your brain if you let it. It essentially combines the mechanics of one of a numbered slider puzzle with the match-3 genre. This means if you’re moving a blue gem across the board, every gem in its path will move, too.
With a proper move, you can slide a gem from one side of the board to another, and set up a two, three, or even four match combo with relative ease – and the game expects you to make these combos with regularity. See for yourself:
As a result, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is one of the most challenging and mind bending mobile games I’ve played in quite awhile; I found myself dumbfounded and delighted at how this mechanic totally recontextualizes what’s expected of the player. You’re forced into thinking laterally, and it may make sense to move a gem up and around and over to get the best combo, instead of taking the quickest and easiest match. In fact, you can even ‘set up’ moves in advance by moving certain gems into position ahead of time.
Like Champions and Wrath of Gems, the colors correspond to various skills you can use, and there are stat upgrades and suit-changes and all the associated systems and nuances that come with a game in this genre – including PVP. It’s very standard issue stuff.
But the joy in Kingsman: The Golden Cirle, is its tweaking of typical gem matching genre into something completely non-standard. Toss in the fun of animations and the digitally debonair versions of Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and you have yourself a game worth checking out.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is available for iOS and Android.