This match-3 game's premise is fairly simple, but it's the challenge that could cost players more than they expect if they want to make significant progress in the game. In Royal Match, players complete rounds to earn stars, which fund tasks they need to do to unlock new areas. For example, you may need top add a fountain in front of the castle or place statues in a throne room, an action that costs two stars. The game portion is well-designed. Levels include varied targets, ranging from clearing 32 patches of grass from the board to breaking boxes next to symbols. In addition to the standard matching game rockets and bombs, a number of fun booster items are also introduced as you play, such as a jester hat that shuffles the tiles on the board without costing you a move and a cannon that can blow away an entire row.
The initial dozen or so levels aren't too difficult, but the puzzles quickly start to get more intense. Players are asked to remove more items in a certain number of turns, and some have to be struck repeatedly. To succeed, you'll have to focus on combining symbols in groups of four or more to form booster items to succeed. If you can't finish a puzzle before running out of moves, you can buy additional turns with coins -- but doing that will quickly wipe out what you've earned while playing. You can also repeat the round and try again to complete the puzzle -- but you'll lose a life each time you fail, and some puzzles may take more than four attempts. Additional boosters that could be helpful also often cost more than you may have on hand, so once you're out of lives, you have to wait for them to replenish before you can resume playing, or start buying items to keep playing. That's unfortunate, because the gameplay otherwise offers a pretty fun experience. Unless you're able to easily finish each puzzle on the first try, you have to be OK with Royal Match having a start-and-stop pace -- or be OK with spending some money to continue.