MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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166 MacDirectory REVIEW | GAMES BIG KAHUNA REEF 2: CHAIN REACTION Now, before you get all reactionary and declaim this title as "yet another Bejeweled clone," let me just say two things right up front: 1) It is a Bejeweled clone, and 2) There's more to it than the standard Bejeweled swap mechanic. What's the big difference? Explosions. Big Kahuna Reef 2: Chain Reaction is the sequel to Reflexive Entertainment's Big Kahuna Reef. The playing field features a grid filled with aquatic-themed items — shells, crabs, and the like — and the object of gameplay is to match three or more items to remove them from the board. The vacant spaces are then filled by the items directly above them. The twist to gameplay that differentiates this title from Bejeweled is that the background of the grid is filled in with a solid color when the items within are removed; the ultimate goal is to fill the board with this color, after which time the player will progress to the next level. Each level features a different layout beyond the standard rectangular grid, and some of them require quite a bit of time and strategy to complete. While it's helpful to be able to match three items both horizontally and vertically, at times this means having to wait a while for the proper symbol to appear. The next bit of Bejeweled deviancy comes in the form of gridsquare locks. These locks can only be unlocked by matching the underlying symbol a number of times — each match removes another chain from the lock — before the square can finally be changed to its solid color. Later levels feature empty squares directly beneath these locks, meaning that the level itself cannot be completed until these locks are open and the symbols above them are allowed to spill into the empty squares. To the lower right of the playing field is a Net. Completing consecutive removals fills up the Net with color; filling the Net to its limit makes the Net available. This Net allows the removal of one symbol from the board, which can be useful if you're unable to complete a row or column with the available symbols. Another differentiator is the level hub found between levels. There are a number of circles with question marks within them. These circles contain a different type of fish and a number of dots next to them. The dots represent levels needed to unlock these circles; unlocking a circle releases the new fish contained within. These fish roam the level freely as you play it. What's new in this iteration of Big Kahuna Reef is the addition of special explosive symbols. These explosives, when swapped with another symbol, detonate all symbols within a given radius, functioning just as though you had matched those areas. Different explosives give different radii. For some levels, these explosives simply appear, but in all levels, matching any five symbols in a row will cause an explosive to appear. Detonating these explosives becomes truly satisfying when they detonate other explosives, causing a matching chain reaction, hence the subtitle of the game name. The Web site touts more than 750 levels to play. A given number of levels are present in the Kahuna Quest mode, with others unlockable after completing that mode. The previous iteration of the game offered player-created downloadable levels; it's not known whether the same is available for this game. The game can also be played in Action Mode which activates a time limit, and Relaxed Mode, that has no time limit. If you enjoyed Bejeweled even a little bit, Big Kahuna Reef 2: Chain Reaction is a must-have. WORDS BY KEONI CHAVEZ Product Big Kahuna Reef 2: Chain Reaction Made by Reflexive Entertainment Price $19.95 download Pros Gameplay updates with new modes and new objects Cons A variety of objects other than ocean-themed things would be appreciated Rating HHHHH

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