7 Wonders of the Ancient World Review
7 Wonders of the Ancient World is a puzzle game that calls on you to use your puzzle-solving skills to build the titular monuments of ancient times. Well, actually not so much to build them as to provide the stone for them, making you more of an ancient quarry manager, per se…
Each level in the game’s main story mode is tied to one of the Seven Wonders, and it will take several successfully cleared puzzles to fully complete each Wonder. Each puzzle consists of a grid in which each square contains a tile and a gem. Each gem can be swapped with an adjacent gem in a neighboring square to form rows or columns of matching gems made up of at least three gems. Once a match is made the gems are eliminated, causing any gems sitting above the removed gems to cascade down the grid and new gems to enter from the top of the screen. If you’ve ever played Bejeweled of Puzzle Quest then you’ll understand the basics of how this all works. If any of the eliminated gems are cleared from a square with a tile in it, the tile is cracked and the pieces fall to the ground beneath the puzzle grid for use in constructing the Wonder.
Eliminate a row or column of four gems and a special lightning ball will appear in the grid. If you move the lightning ball to a new square, it will wipe out every gem on its row. Eliminate five or more gems and you earn a fire ball which also takes out its entire column of gems when moved. Earn a few lightning and fire balls and you’ll see a special flower appear in the grid. Moving the flower to a new square causes it to combust and eliminate a smattering of random gems scattered throughout the grid. All of these special power ups not only help take out a lot of gems in a single stroke, they can set off a long sequence of chain reactions as falling gems create new matches and eliminate more gems. The goal of each puzzle is two-fold, eliminate all of the tiles to give stones to the little workers at the bottom of the screen to use to build the current Wonder, and to move a special corner or cap stone from the top of the puzzle to the bottom. And, oh, you need to do all this before the puzzle’s timer runs out.
One of the things that make the puzzles a bit challenging is that the grids are not always laid out in a perfect square, making it tricky to eliminate tiles stuck in corners or in a thin column of squares. However most of the bite is taken out of the challenge by the inclusion of the power ups. Eliminating that last tile sitting in a spot with only one other adjacent does not require careful and frantic maneuvering of gems across the grid – you just need to take advantage of one or two four-in-a-row opportunities and then just drop a power-up to the proper row and set it off. You don’t even need to worry about reaching a point where there are no more moves as the game will automatically replace the gems on the grid at random when this occurs, which invariably leads to a lot of chain reaction eliminations. Even the time limits you’re given to complete the puzzles is quite generous. I made it through the story mode without failing a puzzle on my first play through, and I only consider myself to be a casual puzzle gamer.
In addition to the game’s story mode, there is a free play mode which lets you replay any puzzle that you’ve already complete in the story mode and a “rune quest” which challenges you to clear a set number of gems before moving on. The rune quest mode provides a little variety to the game, but it’s not all that much different from the other modes and is also made all the easier by the over-powered power-ups.
7 Wonders of the Ancient World features nice and crisp, colorful graphics and the little animated workers building the Wonders are a fun touch. It provides an interesting variant on the Bejeweled theme, but is ultimately too easy to suck away countless hours of your puzzle-playing time.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 72%. If building the Seven Wonders of the World was this easy, I wonder why there weren’t a lot more of them.