REVIEW: T-Kara Puzzles

I’m not exactly sure what the ‘T-Kara’ in Mexond‘s T-Kara Puzzles ($1.00) stands for, but it sounds like some KPop Supergroup culled from my beloved T-ARA1 and fellow group KARA2. Sadly (for me, at least) it is not. Rather, it’s a Match-4 puzzler in the vein of so many Match-4 puzzle games that have come before it. That said, it’s still not a bad time-waster / brain-twister at that.

T-Kara Puzzles - Screen

T-Kara Puzzles is comprised of a variety of play modes, most built around the idea of matching four similar colors in a row and / or column. This is accomplished by ‘dragging’ said rows or columns in either direction3, sliding blocks into place and removing matched-up blocks from the board in order to increase your score. The robust ‘Campaign’ setting takes this simple idea and expands on the theme, adding in modifiers like scoring within a preset zone, maneuvering around ‘locked’ blocks that cannot be moved, and forcing you to acquire a certain amount of each ‘color’ to move on.

Besides being a much needed refresher (this type of game can tend to wear on you over time), these clever conditions for victory inject a fair amount of strategy, considering you usually only have a certain number of moves to make per round. The difficulty ramps up as you unlock the next stage in line, natch, but the game does an adequate job of explaining the rule sets and giving you ‘hints’ on which row / column to move next. Often times, you’ll need to play it off like a long con, setting up ‘combos’ that can save you a turn and clear larger parts of the board like falling dominoes.

T-Kara Puzzles - Screen2

Impressive, old man.

Outside of the dozens of levels found in the Campaign, you’ve also got a ‘Score’ and ‘Picture’ mode to mix things up. The Score scenario gives you one life to— you guessed it— score as many points as possible4, while the Picture gametype scrolls back the match-4 rules and modifiers, and just has you dragging puzzle pieces to eventually form a completed picture. Both modes are worthy accessories to the campaign, adding even more variety.

The game has charm, too, and working smartly around the various conditions and caveats that each board requires definitely gives you a sense of completion and satisfaction. It still boils down to being ‘another match such and such’ game, and I really wanted it to be a KPop supergroup, but if you’re hard up for a thoughtful and clean-cut puzzler, T-Kara Puzzles is a nice fit.

  1. T-ARA video included for… um… footnote purposes
  2. KARA video included for… um… footnote purposes
  3. A mechanic obviously meant for mobile platforms, so it’s no surprise the game is also available on the go. 
  4. Also includes a ‘Time Attack’ modifier and another that limits the number of moves you can make. 

21 thoughts on “REVIEW: T-Kara Puzzles”

  1. 4 years late I find this game on Steam (while perusing the list of XBLIGs that made it to other consoles) and, naturally, stop here to read Tim’s review. And then I hit the footnotes. I think I have a new favorite band, T-ARA. For the music, of course.

    I feel really dirty now, too.

    1. Haha, theXBLIG still going, like the little engine that could. I don’t check the stats around here much anymore, but I was surprised / happy to see that some of these games still get some search traffic. Good that some of them have found a second home elsewhere.

      As for Kpop …I actually like a good amount of the music, but once you go down that rabbit hole, there’s no coming back, haha. My apologies. 😁👍

  2. There used to be some sort of Titty Tetris: in the late 80s/early 90s, an arcade game of which the name I can’t remember, was basically Columns (with Poker cards, I think), but the more you played, the more the woman in the background takes off her clothes. I think it had “Poker” in the title, but I can’t say for sure.

    1. Ha, I should’ve figured someone else would come up with this ‘genius’ idea before me. Actually, it’s not that hard to figure; there’s been a dozen variations on strip poker throughout the ages. 😉

      Well, at least it’ll be the first-ish of its kind on XBLIG. Easy money for a developer, I know that.

    1. Pretty much exactly like Candy Crush. Or a Bejeweled. These games all play pretty similar. It’s always either a match-3 or match-4 game, with some modifiers here and there. Nothing you haven’t seen before. But yet, I always find myself getting sucked into these things. I like a good puzzler, I guess. 🙂

    2. Why oh why are these so much fun? If someone can explain that to me and what the addiction is with something that for the most part is mindless I got a virtual cookie for you.

    3. It’s easy to lose plenty of hours to these things, I know that. It all relates back to Tetris for me. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world or what I’m doing, you put any version of Tetris in front of me, and consider me preoccupied. 🙂 I know not everybody goes for this stuff (I think it was Soosh that mentioned ages ago that he hates Tetris), but it’s those simple brain games that suck up your time if you’re not careful.

      Well now, don’t know if that qualifies as a good explanation, but can I get a cookie anyway? Sugar cookies are my vice, but chocolate chip will do just fine too. 😀

    4. Chocolate chip sugar cookies are on the way. Kinda like Civ games….simple to play but hard to master is always a sign of success for most part. Hell look at Mario. Now that we have the keys to success Tim we need to find a driver for that gold train to gold town where everything is golden…accept the showers of course. LOL

    5. Whoa… chocolate chip sugar cookies…. mind officially blown! Oh, but absolutely NO golden showers. If that means I miss out on that Frankenstein-ian cookie, then so be it. 😀

      And hey, Mr. Chris Antoni works his magic fast; I say we pitch him more game ideas the next round of Block King we play. XBLIG needs more boob games, of course, so why not…. wait for it…. Titty Tetris!!! It’s Tetris… but with boobs. The name could use some work, but instead of the same boring old blocks falling, you’ve got falling breasts that have to be arranged! Sounds like a crass / classless winner to me! 👿 👿 😮

    6. I think it was Soosh that mentioned ages ago that he hates Tetris
      Yay, that was me. And even though it was ages ago, I still hate it. 😛 Titris, on the other hand, sounds like a game I might enjoy.

    7. Haha, I’ve got a good, utterly random memory when it comes to Tetris haters, I guess. 🙂

      I do think ‘ImTheMetalLord’ is on to something with Titris, though. That’s a game the whole family can enjoy!

    8. Tits and Titris will find a way, sir. It always finds a way. Haha.

      In all seriousness, though, yeah, I’d like to at least attempt to learn some basic programming stuff sometime down the road. I doubt I’d ever get anything done, but it’d be a nice trick to learn. 🙂 It’s on the bucket list, bound to become the fuckit list. 😀

    9. One of my mates gave me a copy of Dark Basic years ago, which seemed to be pretty easy to learn. But I just didn’t have the patience for it 😦 Was always more into music tracker.

      So yeah, ImTheMetalLord, if you do end up working on an Indie game, I could do the music. 😎

    10. Oh, oh, that means I can do the ‘storyline’, because you just know a game like Titrus NEEDS a credible backstory and sympathetic protagonists! Pick me! Pick me!

    11. Titrus? I thought the game’s gonna be called Titris… Anyhow, I’d say let’s do this. 😎

      So, what sort of story can we expect, Master Tim? Oh, and speaking of Tetris, may I just take the opportunity to repost this lovely video:

    12. Oh man… I don’t even know the name of our own fictional masterpiece!!! And here I am, calling myself Lead Writer… sad state of affairs, I am. :/

      Haha, that video never gets old! It’s the perfect combination of wildly inappropriate / too true. 😀

      As for Titris‘ storyline, let me just say it involves a lot of JRPG tropes, like odd, completely-out-of-place-for-exploration-and-battles hairstyles, sexualized and equally-inefficient battle attire, … oh, and of course, amnesia!

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