Linkit - A Christmas Carol is a Match Three Game with a Twist
Enter the world of Linkit, a unique puzzle game set within a classic piece of literature from times gone by. Match and link items to move through ever more challenging levels while the story of Charles Dickens' masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, plays out around you. Experience a brand new matching technique using your mouse to clear each puzzle, and then sit back and enjoy Dicken's tale, told with beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds and characters.
Getting it Right
The mouse-based controls are pretty much standard fare for those who are used to gaming on their PCs. However, linking tiles can be a bit tricky for young players who still have some ways to go when it comes to hand-eye coordination. You will need to hold down the left mouse button and drag it across similar tiles to chain them together. A thin line will highlight the selection so you can easily tell which square you've stopped at. It's nothing fancy, but it may easily tire out younger players.
Stages are timed. In order to progress through to the next level, you will need to clear every colored tile on the game board. As is a standard in the match three genre, the levels start out easy, getting progressively harder the closer you are to the finish line. Expect tried and tested match three tricks such as tiles which need to be unlocked or passed twice as well as game board shapes with tricky corners. If you're up for it, then rest assured, the game will keep you busy for a while with five Acts and a total of 80 puzzles.
Things That Matter
However, there is one area where Linkit truly shines. Unlike other match three games, you are not restricted to forming straight links. As long as you're passing similar tiles, you are allowed to go in any direction you wish. You can go up or down, left or right and diagonal. You can even double back to form a 'T' if that's what will give you a higher combo. As long as you have a minimum of three matches, your chain will count. But really, with the zany match system, why stop there?
On the other hand, the game's meager Power Up system fails to impress. From the get-go, you get a Hammer which will allow you to break one tile or chain. In order to use it, you will need to fill up a meter by linking tiles. And that's basically it. There are no upgrades, nor does the mechanic change throughout the game. You are limited to a single Hammer with a meter which takes an eternity to fill up. It may not matter much during the first half of the game but you really feel this in later levels where things are hectic and every second counts.
And Stuff That Don't
In terms of issues, well the game has a couple. For starters, we didn't like the fact that you have a limited amount of lives. So what happens is that you have a solid starting point per Act. If you happen to lose all your lives along the way, you restart the game at the beginning of your current act. It's not so bad if you're at the first couple of stages but it's brutal if you happen to be a level away from the end. Also, there's the glitch in which running out of moves may cause your game to freeze. This wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have a limited amount of lives, but alas, you do. When this happens you'll be forced to close and reboot the game.
A Tiresome But Enjoyable Christmas Title
Because it does tend to get frustrating towards the end, Linkit - A Christmas Carol is not a game for genre beginners. It is certainly not the worst, but the level of frustration towards the end is unnecessary for those who are just starting out. It is also not for the very young. While the hand-drawn illustrations are polished, they feature a style that is a bit dated. There are also no voice-overs, which will make the story hard to follow for those who have yet to master reading and again, the game gets really challenging towards the end. However, if you are looking for a festive game which offers plenty of mileage, are not intimidated by the challenging stages and wouldn't mind some backtracking, then by all means play it. It may just be the match three game to put you in the mood for some holiday eggnog.