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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

This FPS is basically Bejeweled with guns (and it has a story)

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Alien invasion! First-person combat! Wallrunning! Drama! Match-3 gameplay! One of these things, as Sesame Street taught us, is not like the others, but they all come together in a single, kind of weird-looking package called Matcho, a “match-3 FPS” coming to Steam later this year.

Matcho follows the adventures of Max and his friends, who take on an invasion of Earth by mysterious robot bugs from space, while simultaneously searching for a cure for his mysterious childhood illness. It sounds like serious business, but not too serious, apparently: The Steam listing describes Matcho as having “a non-linear, humor-packed plot with multiple endings.”

Somewhat less important than the plot, though, is the gameplay, which includes first-person platforming via an “extensive” parkour system enabling wall-running, double-jumping, and dashing, puzzles, and “Intense and clever tactical fighting built around the match-3 shooter concept.” Sadly, there is no more detailed explanation of what exactly the “match-3 shooter concept” is.

Based on the trailer and screens, my impression is that Max uses his special abilities, which appear to be either a manifestation or byproduct of his uncured childhood disease, to blast four-legged, multi-colored alien orbs. It’s impossible to say whether tagging three of the same color in a row is necessary or only confers bonuses, but either way it’s clearly a good idea.

One thing the trailer is a bit potentially misleading on, what with all the hand-blasting and such, is that Matcho is not a VR game. Developer Fiola said a potential VR announcement is coming, but for now the studio is focused on finishing the standard version of the game.

It’s a strange mashup of genres, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. Genre crossovers like Puzzle Quest, Typing of the Dead, and Sanctum 2 are quite good (I like them, anyway), and an element of goofy, self-important humor can go a long way toward elevating an average game to a memorable one. I have no idea if Matcho will have what it takes to pull off that particular trick, but I’m honestly kind of eager to find out.

Matcho is set to launch sometime in 2022, and in the meantime you can find out more at playmatcho.com. And now, because I’ve had this stuck in my head all afternoon, you get to enjoy it too.

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