Parents' Guide to

Match Land

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Matching game is engaging but can sometimes move too fast.

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This fast-paced matching game will keep you on your toes while also testing your business skills, but its speed can take away from the fun. The app involves a number of elements -- dragon eggs you work toward, recovery and health points you need to accrue, team attack bonuses, and more. Gamers will also receive additional challenges to return to previously completed stages, along with tasks to boost their characters and store inventory. Furthermore, they'll also need to check in frequently with their store to collect profits; it can take just a minute for the next batch to accumulate. But players have to be ready to click through this game quickly; while making correct combinations will earn you more time, it doesn't garner much, because the timer in the matching portion of the game runs out unbelievably fast. Sometimes you can only make one match before having to pause to wait for effects like blobs spitting or exploding into coins to wrap up before the board becomes active again. Oddly, despite the pressure to beat the clock, there's a strange push and pull here that can actually make the experience feel kind of slow. You sometimes get a bit of extra time to plot your next move, but when you're in a groove, hoping to quickly knock out some more pairings, it can feel like someone hit pause on your gameplay.

Including aspects like the store component and the ability to unlock and upgrade characters was an admirable move to make the app more than just a simple matching game. But keeping track of everything can start to feel a bit overwhelming. Even just initially figuring out what you're collecting and why, what upgrades you can or should purchase, where you're able to go, and other basic details can be a little confusing. The narrator who pops up to explain things helps; she walks users through some of the steps that are necessary to advance to further levels -- but she periodically throws a fair amount of information out, and there's no written overview on how the game is played to refer to later if kids miss or forget something. It'd be nice if the app provided some content describing what the overall experience entails so that kids know what to expect when they start playing and have something to go back to if they have questions. Without that type of resource, if they get stuck, kids' only hope is to wait for the fairy guide/narrator to appear with an explanation -- which may or may not happen anytime soon.

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