Runes of Avalon 2

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Runes of Avalon 2 review
Marcus Mulkins


A different kind of Solitaire

Been there; done that

About six months ago, the indie developer Anawiki released Runes of Avalon for Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. It was one of those colorful, lightweight puzzle games vaguely reminiscent of Tetris. Basically, you match up "runes" (little squares with a common color and/or rune design) so that you have three or more in a row in order to score points. The pieces pop into existence in a variety of configurations that encompass 1-4 runes, and the mix can be of any combination of color/symbols. The rune-clumps replace your cursor and you can place them on the board (no overlapping allowed) with a left mouse-click; right-clicking rotates the clump 90-degrees clockwise. Points are scored whenever you match up a string of at least three runes with the same color/symbol, with more points awarded if you make multiple matches in one move, and/or make strings longer than three pieces. Unlike Tetris which drops pieces onto the screen at ever accelerating speed until you can no longer keep up, in RoA, you're playing "Beat The Clock".

Now Anawiki brings us Runes of Avalon 2. Quite honestly, this is pretty much the exact same game. The backstory and background canvases (of which there are four) are different, and the game map that you traverse, following a string-of-pearls path that is 100-beads long, is somewhat different. And the variety of "gameboards" that serve as the playing surface where you place the rune-clumps differ from RoA. Other than these minimal alterations, the mechanics of the games are identical.

In case you have NOT been here before...

At the beginning of the game, you get the backstory. In the original game, you needed to help rescue Merlin. In this one, you get to wander the kingdom undoing the magical corruption left behind by Morgana/Morgan le Fey. Move to the first of the "pearls" and you get the short tutorial of what you're supposed to do. Usually that consists of making so many color/rune combinations before time runs out. For however many color/rune tiles that are currently in play (up to six), each time you make a string, some color gets poured into a large marble representing that color/rune. Once filled, that marble goes opaque. Some of the tiles on the board have symbols inscribed upon them. Using those particular tiles in a string will activate the magical spell that symbol represents. These include area-effect spells like Crossfire (a pair of flamethrower streams that blow away everything vertically and horizontally), and Mirror (which converts every tile in a 5x5 block to become the same color/rune as the center tile). Fill all of the active marble repositories within the time limit and you go to the scorecard where you get to hear some version of "Merlin taught you well!"

Each area of the map has several "pearl" stops. As you progress from one area to the next, there is a transition pearl, where instead of playing fill-the-marbles, you have one of two other tasks. The first is to "reveal the terrain" session. This is simply taking one of the gallery canvases, gridding the picture, then jumbling the resulting blocks. Your task is to rearrange the blocks by clicking on two blocks, which causes them to swap position. If one of the blocks ends up in the exact same position as the finished picture, that block gets fixed in place. The session ends when the picture is identical to that gallery picture. Thereafter, that picture serves as the background canvas while you are in that area.


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