SotA - Stele of the Ancients ($0.99) by Erawppa Co., Ltd. is a match-three style game with loads of extra features to add more excitement, and to challenge your abilities. With online multiplayer gaming capabilities, you can finally go head to head with your Game Center rivals.
The basic point of the game is to match four or more of the same images by switching tiles around on the board. As the game progresses, so do the obstacles and bonuses. Dark gray and light gray tiles cannot be moved together, but if they are side by side when the match is made, they will all disappear together. There are special matches that will clear a certain number of tiles off the board, but they change colors constantly, making it difficult to line up the match. There are plenty of challenges to keep you from getting bored.
This game also offers multiplayer online gaming through Game Center. You can either get matched up with a random player, invite a specific friend, or play with compatible Bluetooth enabled devices. Multiplayer online gaming adds even more replayability to what is already a fun and exciting game.
The graphics are detailed. Each tile has an animated image and changes expression while being moved around. The soundtrack is slightly annoying, but can be muted from a side bar on the main screen. There are three different modes: single, multiplayer and classic. In single mode, you unlock new levels by completing tasks. In multiplayer mode, you must reset the arrangement of your opponent’s tiles. In classic mode, you play the game until time runs out, trying to achieve the highest score possible.
I played this game on both my iPad and iPhone 3GS and found the iPad to be much easier to use. There are so many tiles with so many graphics that it can be hard on the eyes on the iPhone/iPod touch screen. If you have the option, I recommend playing this one on the iPad.
Overall the game is fantastic and challenging. It takes the typical match-three style game and throws a whole bunch of mischief at it. The various obstacles make each level interesting and the online multiplayer capability makes the replay value of this game very high. It is well worth $0.99.