First Impressions: G.G. Series Conveyor Kombō

A refreshingly novel take on the "match three" puzzler

There have been many variations on the "match three" puzzle game, often involving adding another item to complete a matching set, but it's rare to see a truly new and novel mechanic used in what has become something of a cliched puzzle game style. For this reason G.G. Series Conveyor Kombō is something of a surprise, because it not only does something new with the concept of arranging like-coloured items on a grid but actually makes it interesting enough to merit replays.

As with other G.G. Series titles, Conveyor Kombō is played with D-Pad and buttons alone; the action takes place on the bottom screen whilst the top displays the game name and best score, highest level reached, etc. Players are faced with a screen containing the titular conveyor upon which sit stacks of coloured penguins (at least that's what they look like to us) and like-coloured boxes. The goal is to match penguins with boxes, keeping penguins from falling off the edge of the conveyor which is slowly rolling them towards the abyss. If even one penguin goes off the conveyor then it's GAME OVER.

Getting penguins to their boxes (or exits, whatever they're supposed to be) involves moving them about which is where things get interesting. Using the d-pad you move around a yellow rectangle which can be used to frame one or two penguins/boxes along a horizontal axis; having framed the items you wish to move, you press A to get them to swap places. If you've framed an object and an empty space, the object can be moved into the empty space. By swapping places and moving your frame around you can move individual objects left or right on the screen one square at a time. If an object is moved from a stack to an open space it will fall vertically onto other objects or the conveyor.

Using this simple mechanic you can group like-coloured penguins and then move a box adjacent to them, which will cause all of them to march on in; any adjacent extra boxes will disappear along with the one the penguins marched into. As objects fall into gaps combos will occur, steadily filling a level metre at the top of the screen. As the level increases the conveyor will move rightward faster and more penguin colours will be added to the starting four of green, blue, red and yellow. Any gaps created on the conveyor need to be manually closed by pressing B, which will cause a packing bar to move from the right to squeeze the penguins together. As you get further in the game you'll need to remember to do this lest one or two isolated penguins end up falling off the edge and end your game. Lastly, if you run out of matching penguins and boxes on the playable part of the conveyor, you can press the R button to manually roll things to the right to bring more penguins into play.

As with most other G.G. Series games there's no extra game modes, you simply play until the game is over. It's a great little time-waster and puts paid the notion that we've seen all the puzzle games the world has to offer. For 200 Points you can't go wrong with this one.

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