Witch Wars (Free) by Com2uS Inc. combines the best of match-3 puzzles with a skill tree worthy of a role-playing game.
As with any match-3 game, Witch Wars is centered on a block chaining mechanic. Match three or more of the same block in a row, and the chain is cleared from the screen. However, beyond this core mechanism, Witch Wars goes from being a standard Bejeweled clone, to being a much deeper match-3 experience.
The defining feature in Witch Wars is the battle method. Whether you play in the single player or the online multiplayer mode, you will be pitted against another witch. Your goal is to defeat your opponent by unleashing attacks, locks, and other skills.
Battles are similar to those in Dungeon Raid. Your board is filled with various blocks ranging from swords and locks, to potions and skill books. Match the blocks to unleash their effect. For example, sword blocks deal damage to the opponent (more blocks in a chain means the effect is greater), lock blocks will make certain blocks on the opponents board unmovable, skill books will fill up your skill meter, and so on. While you frantically look for ways to take out your opponents, there will also be coin blocks to collect as well.
In all there are seven unique witches. Each has a special skill set, and each must be unlocked using either in-game currency or real cash. In my opinion, Com2us did a poor job implementing the IAP in this game. Currently, there are a few witches that can only be unlocked with a $9.99 purchase. Honestly, that seems much too high, and it detracts greatly from the nature of the game. Also, there are advertisements placed in most of the screens, and they can be removed for a buck.
If you can get over the fact that the IAP is horribly implemented you will see that Witch Wars actually brings a lot to the table. As I mentioned, there are a few role playing elements in place such as leveling up the various skills that each witch possesses. Instead of using skill points to upgrade your skills, you will use in-game currency earned through battles. This skill tree is what drives the replay value of the game and it will keep you busy for a while.
When you start playing Witch Wars, you will want to go through a few single player matches first before going on to online play. Two single player modes are available, infinite mode and flash mode. Infinite mode is basically a survival mode where you battle witch after witch until you lose all of your health. Flash mode gives you a minute to earn as many points as possible. Three difficulty modes are also available, with harder modes giving larger amounts of currency.
Witch Wars provides for some role playing fun in a match-3 shell. With a deep skill tree and online competition, Witch Wars will steal your time away. Despite a dangerously rooted IAP system, Witch Wars manages to provide a lot of fun for gamers of all types.