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Magical Hammer

For: Mobile

Another block puzzler faces the Pocket Gamer gavel

Product: Magical Hammer | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 190KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
Magical Hammer Mobile, thumbnail 1
When a legendary game company such as Capcom decides to attack the competitive mobile block-busting puzzle genre with a distinctly low-budget game, it's easy to expect the worst. To be honest,  Magical Hammer screams of cheapness from its opening screen but, thankfully, its lowbrow exterior actually hides a decent core mechanic.

Despite its similarities to many other mobile releases, Magical Hammer is best explained through comparison to classic family tabletop game, Connect 4.

Presented with a grid that's six coloured bricks wide and seven high, you assume the role of a curious oriental mallet-wielding mammal (of course!), first seen in the cult beat-'em-up Darkstalkers, who can climb up and down either side of the grid.

With that mallet comes responsibility. Whacking the grid shifts the hit row one place to the side. Create chains of three or more blocks of the same colour on the horizontal or vertical and those bricks disappear.

It's not that easy, though. Every so often, you're suddenly faced with a mission. There are eight in total, and each ups the ante by demanding that you fulfil certain parameters within very testing time limits, sending you to the Game Over screen if you fail.

One, for example, requires that you make four bricks of a set colour disappear, while another demands you trigger a chain that sees at least three separate lines evaporate simultaneously. While these tasks are simple enough in the normal game, under the pressure to perform they are really quite tricky, and certainly ruin the flow.

Of course, this kind of gameplay model all started with Bejeweled, a block game so basic it filled pockets and sucked up man-hours worldwide. The problem with such easily mimicked icons is that they attract plenty of clones, and while we've seen some good ones in recent months, most of us have also experienced a few too many that still smell of photocopy toner.

Still, Magical Hammer does have all the elements of a good block puzzler, and harnesses a very user-friendly control scheme. From the uncomplicated interface through to the depth of its nuances, everything is in place. The main problem is you've likely played too much of this kind of thing already.

So, it's not a bad game, but recent gems like PicoPix, Touch Panic and Slitherlink have thoroughly reinvented grid-based puzzlers, so unless you're an avid fan of making coloured squares disappear with a hammer, there are more intriguing options out there.
Magical Hammer
Reviewer photo
Will Freeman | 15 November 2007
While Capcom may have hit a nail on the head with Magical Hammer, the puzzle genre has moved on from such easy clones
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