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Game of the Week: Best Fiends by Seriously
Best Fiends is yet another matching game, but with RPG style. Enter into a world once peaceful that is now being plagued by malicious Slugs. Liberate, grow and evolve Fiends (colorful characters based on different types of insects) and help them defeat the Slugs. Each match boosts the color-coordinated Fiend's attack as you help them battle towards Mount Boom, the source of the new terror.
In this review, I'll be talking about the basic game play, how to collect and evolve your Fiends, and special levels.
Best Fiends is available on Android, iOS, and Facebook. The game can now connect to your Google account as well. Seriously Digital Entertainment imposes no age limitation, and it is good fun for anyone.
The first few levels are a basic introduction, showing you how to make matches and introducing you to the basics of playing a level. Simply trail your finger across the screen starting on one tile and connect to neighboring tiles of the same type. You can match tiles that are adjacent diagonally as well as horizontally and vertically. The game starts with access to Temper, a Fiend from Green Glades. So the first level has a basic goal of matching green leaf tiles. A couple of cut scenes between completing the first levels introduces you to the story of the comet, Mount Boom, and the terrible Slugs. Now the young Temper starts his heroic journey to defeat the Slugs.
There are five types of tiles representing the five places Fiends live: green leafs for Green Glades, red strawberries for Strawberry Patch, yellow flowers for Mellow Flowers, purple mushrooms for Glowshroom Garden, and blue water drops for Dewdrop District. Each Fiend comes from one of these places, and matching the corresponding tiles boosts the attacks of each Fiend. You can only use one of each type of Fiend at a time, for a team of up to five Fiends, but you can trade out Fiends to build the perfect team for each level.
Each Fiend has a different Special Skill. Temper's Special Skill is a horizontal bomb. Other Special Skills include vertical bomb, converter block, and area bomb. One Fiend from each area has each of these skills, but you have to collect them first! During a level, when you match and collect tiles, they not only boost the Fiends' attacks but also fill up a Special Skill Gauge. Once that gauge is full, your Fiend will place a special tile on the board of the corresponding type. Use that tile in a match to trigger it. Different boards and different goals will require strategic use of these Special Skills.
At higher levels and in different areas, you'll come across unique obstacles on the board. There will be tree stumps to clear, slime to remove from tiles, and more. Also, you'll meet some Slugs that have Special Skills of their own, including sliming up the board, spitting out teeth, and unleashing mini slugs that consume tiles. Matching tiles next to such obstacles will cause damage to them; some obstacles require more than one match to be removed entirely from the board.
Fiends: Gotta Find 'Em All
You start gameplay with one Fiend, Temper, but there are currently 21 Fiends available. There are at least four from every region, allowing you to have a Fiend for every combination of Special Skill and color. Starting at level 5, when you complete a level, you get keys. Sometimes these keys will show up on the board; you can collect them by making a match next to them. You can use these keys on the rescue screen to open crates, giving you a chance to find new Fiends.
This is the only way to find new Fiends, but you won't always find one. The crates also contain yellow and blue meteormites, used to grow and evolve your Fiends; diamonds, the premium “currency”; free energy (up to six jolts); or even a permanent energy increase, which adds to your maximum energy. I had no trouble finding and growing Fiends to the necessary level to unlock new areas in the world, but finding Fiends is completely random, except for your first two. You'll have your second soon after you find your first keys.
Once you've started your collection, you'll need to get yellow, and later blue, meteormites. The meteormites are used to grow or evolve your Fiends so they can gain levels and grow in power. They will receive an increase to their attack power with every growth, and their Special Skills will become stronger with an evolution. Between collecting new Fiends and growing the Fiends you have, you will be able to complete easier levels faster, and take on the challenge of harder levels.
Certain Fiends have Solo Quests they embark on: a series of levels that they complete without the aid of other Fiends. The first Fiend to have this is Edward, the mosquito. He wants to quit the blood, and goes on a special Solo Quest to find coconuts so he can live off of coconut water instead. This series of special levels requires you to find Edward and grow him to at least level five, and is accessible near the beginning of the Frozen Hills, the second section of the world map. Edward's quest is part of the No More Malaria campaign.
The second Solo Quest available is JoJo's quest; JoJo is a caterpillar that you will eventually evolve into a butterfly. JoJo goes on a quest to rescue Labbit, a fellow Fiend lost and besieged by glowing Slugs. Like Edward, you have to find JoJo and level her up to at least level five to begin the quest. Her quest is also accessible from the Frozen Hills, towards the end of that region. JoJo's quest stemmed from a partnership with Kidrobot to create toy Slugs in both the regular black and an unusual green glow-in-the-dark version. This quest gives the glowing Slugs a place in the game, and introduces and unlocks the 21st Fiend.
Best Fiends: Behind the Scenes
Not Just Another Matching Game
I've long ago grown tired of colored tile matching games. Take your pick, there is an aesthetic for everyone out there. However, Best Fiends takes this basic game style and adds to it in a unique way by bringing some RPG elements to the table. It's not the first one to do this, but I enjoy the aesthetic of Best Fiends. Its nice-looking, well-polished graphics are toony and appealing. The levels get quite challenging, but are never insurmountable with the help of your Fiends and your ability to make them stronger. You have some control over when special tiles come to the board, compared to other games that rely entirely on chance. While there is an element of luck in getting the right tiles in the right place, strategy of which Fiends you use and when you match which tiles is just as important.
There is the matter of the energy bar, as with so many other games. I find I can play Best Fiends for a solid half hour before my meter is empty, which is usually longer than I wanted to play anyway. For me, the energy meter isn't an annoying obstacle but a nice reminder to do something else for a while. I get a notification when the energy meter is full again and my Fiends are ready for action, so I know exactly when I can start enjoying another half hour defeating Slugs.
What do you think of Best Fiends?
What Others Are Saying About Best Fiends
Nadia Oxford on 148apps.com writes:
"Best Fiends doesn't try to present wildly innovative ideas. It just tries to be a solid, satisfying game with some adorable visuals. It certainly gobbles up the player's time. At any rate, it's enough to make anyone forget they're fraternizing with bugs. That speaks well for the experience."
See her full review here: 148apps.com Best Fiends Review
D. Valentin of The Bookish Gamer has this to say:
"At the cost of free, you pretty much can't get any better value than this; furthermore, you'll fall in love with the Fiends. With each and every unlockable, you will feel accomplished. I'm savoring my time with Best Fiends. It's nothing new, but it's charm, vibrancy, and streamlined gameplay make it a game I will be playing for a long time."
Read about their issues and excitements here: The Bookish Gamer Review of Best Fiends