Reviewed on Playstation Vita
PlayStation Vita’s first foray into the free-to-play business model has arrived in the form of Treasures of Montezuma Blitz: a colorful, Aztec themed, match-3 style puzzle game.
If you are familiar with the Bejeweled series, specifically Bejeweled BLITZ, you will understand the gameplay immediately. Horizontally or vertically line up three or more gems of the same color to remove them from the board and score points. The more gems you match at once, the more points you score. When your matched gems are removed from the board more gems fall from the top of the screen to fill up the empty spaces.
In ToM Blitz some of the gems contain crystals which, when matched, boost your score and are converted into currency you can use to buy power-ups. These power-ups, named ‘Totems’ and ‘Bonuses’, cost a sum of crystals to unlock and then a sum of crystals every turn you intend to use them. If you have power-ups equipped but do not have enough crystals to use them ToM Blitz prompts you to purchase them from the PlayStation Store. The cheapest crystal pack costs $2.99 for 3000 crystals. 3000 crystals can be used within a few rounds depending on what Totems and Bonuses you have equipped.
ToM Blitz is available for free but it is clear that they expect you to shell out some dollars. If you want to play more than 5 games in a row you need to purchase a Lives Refill. Each day you start with 5 lives and each game you play removes one life. When your lives run out you can either wait an undisclosed amount of time or pay $0.99 to refill them. Each game lasts one minute, so $0.99 gets you 5 minutes of gameplay which adds up to $11.88 for an hour of gameplay.
ToM Blitz is fast paced during gameplay but getting there will take some time. Most Vita games load near instantly but ToM Blitz can take 40-60 seconds just to get to the start screen. The loading screens are excruciatingly slow and automatically connecting to PSN takes far too long, especially on 3G. 40-60 seconds may not seem like a long time to wait but considering that a round of gameplay lasts only 60 seconds its hard not to take issue with ToM Blitz’s lack of speed.
When it comes down to it ToM Blitz at its core is a good match-three style game. The touch controls work very well, the theme and visuals are fun, even the powerups are interesting. Sadly it takes too long to launch ToM Blitz for it to be the quick go-to game it should be, and once you get into the game it asks you to pay if you want to spend more than a few minutes playing. Fortunately this game is available for free so it is worth a try but when there are games available on the same platform that offer near identical gameplay, faster start-up times, and no micro-transactions, it is very difficult to suggest Treasures of Montezuma Blitz.