Monarch: The Butterfly King Review

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Publisher: Reflexive Entertainment
Developer: Reflexive Entertainment

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Monarch, the Butterfly King, is being tormented by a wizard bent on embedding all his butterfly subjects in amber. Only by solving difficult magical puzzles, creating potions and destroying sinister locks and metal plates can Monarch free his subjects and combat the wizard's entry into Monarch's glade.

Kyle Ackerman

Does the world really need another symbol matching game? Perhaps so. Reflexive entertainment has taken the conventional "match three-in-a-row" gameplay and added cleverly designed levels and its own style and plot to give new life to this old formula.

The basic play behind Monarch: The Butterfly King is simple. A hostile wizard has entrapped Monarch's butterfly subjects in amber. By swapping the locations of flowers, Monarch can eliminate flowers by grouping them into sets of three. If an eliminated flower is located atop a metal plate, that metal plate is shattered, releasing the magic that Monarch needs to free his subjects. The more combinations you complete in rapid succession, the more valuable are the metal plates when eliminated.

There are a few more gimmicks. Some spaces are locked (visibly enclosed in chains) and can only be unlocked by matching flowers to the flower in the locked space. Also, by matching enough flowers in one group, Monarch can create potions that can clear vast sections of the screen. Frogs, however, can rebuild the metal plates you are trying to remove. Each of the levels has a time limit. Most of the time this will seem generous, but fail to complete the level within the specified time and you'll lose a life. Lose too many lives and you'll have to start over (your score will reset, although you can continue playing from the same level).

Many of the puzzles have a specific gimmick – figure out how to open one locked space or generate a potion and the puzzle is, essentially, solved. There are 150 progressively more difficult pre-made levels, and user-generated levels can be downloaded to extend play. Reflexive has also brought an elegant user interface to Monarch: The Butterfly King that is a step above typical matching games.

Monarch: The Butterfly King is a refined version of the game you've seen dozens of times, and costs just below $20. It even supports "Mouse Party," so you can have multiple players work cooperatively on the same puzzle, or compete on the same screen. If you're a fan of this style of matching game, Monarch is at least as good (and possibly much better) than what you've been playing. And if you haven't played a matching game, well... then you aren't much of a casual gamer, are you?

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 4, 2007 9:26 PM.

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