Also on: PS3
Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
Developer: Alawar Entertainment
If you've had your Vita a couple of years, you probably remember playing Treasures of Montezuma: Blitz. It came out during the handheld's troubled first year, back when the phrase "Vita has no games!" wasn't just an uninformed talking point, but was, essentially, true. Consequently, even though ToM: Blitz wasn't great — it was your standard match-3 puzzle game– it was still pretty widely played on account of there being little else at the time.
Considering how many more games are out for the Vita now, I suspect that Treasures of Montezuma: Arena won't get nearly the same pick-up. This is kind of unfortunate; even though I'm pleased the once-dead system is now getting a steady stream of titles, Arena is the better game, and it deserves the same kind of audience that Blitz had.
To be sure, it's still just match-3 game. That part hasn't changed. What's different, however, is that ToM: Arena has a bunch of stuff surrounding that core mechanic. There's a story, for starters. There's competition — no longer are you just racing against the clock, but rather, via that aforementioned storyline, you're fighting against all kinds of monsters and demons. The pick-ups and weapons are a lot easier to use and understand than they ever were in Blitz.
The biggest change, though? The fact that even though it's a F2P game, it doesn't feel like one to the same extent that Blitz did. Whereas that first game was constantly reminding you of how your experience would be improved if you'd just open your wallet, in Arena you can easily get by without spending a cent. There are upgrades to be had, but truthfully, the only time I even looked at the add-ons in the PlayStation Store was when I accidentally clicked on that button. You can easily play through the game without having to spend a cent, which, as far as I'm concerned, is pretty great value.
I know, I know: it's easy to be opposed to Free-to-Play just on principle. Most of the time, I know I am. But to the extent that there can be a good way to implement F2P, this is it. Getting Treasures of Montezuma: Arena will cost you only a little space on your memory card, and in return you'll get literally hours and hours of addictive gameplay. All things considered, that's well worth it.