The Enthralling Realms: The Blacksmith's Revenge is a fantasy Match 3 game developed by e-FunSoft Games. In it, you take the role of an apprentice blacksmith on her journey to rid the lands of evil dragons.
The game starts with a very involved cutscene detailing the beginning of our hero’s adventure, all told in the style of a storybook tale. Our heroine, a young blacksmith’s apprentice, is learning the trade from her father who is known for making the best weapons in the land. They were enjoying a nice day together when all of a sudden a glory of dragons fell down upon their village and set everything ablaze. The renowned craftsman rushed to the dragon’s leader with his best weapon in hand, but he was no match for such an imposing threat. With his dying breath, he commands his daughter to go to a nearby dwarven village, where they could make a legendary weapon to put an end to the darkness. This is where we begin the game properly, and as you can see the thrills just don’t stop.
As you make progress through the game and meet new characters, the voice acting takes center stage as the great performances and impeccable accents really pull you into the story. It is a pleasant surprise to see a game within this genre have a deep plot and lore, it really makes you want to play one more level and see what you unlock.
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As for the art department, the game knows its strengths and plays into them. The main attraction is building the defenses of each village you visit, and seeing the change happen in real time is always great fun. You see creatures attacking the village constantly, giving a feeling of urgency to the player about completing each stage. And as you complete each task, you are treated to a small yet voice acted cutscene between the main character and someone else, usually someone new. This not only gets you invested, but also gives background to the rich world the developers made for this game, and it is really appreciated. While the characters don’t move, they are still pretty to look at and give a lot of personality from their poses and design. Each new village is full to the brim with new people to meet and lore to uncover.
Gameplay wise, this follows the classic Match 3 formula. You have a grid filled with various objects, and you need to match three or more of the same object to make them disappear. Your goal is to clear the golden tiles by making matches on them, and sometimes to make a certain amount of matches with a specific item. This can be quite tricky, since sometimes the layout of the grid will only allow you to match in a certain way, other times the items are chained so you can’t move them, and there are even items hidden away in boxes that you need to break before being able to use them. To aid you in your journey, you will unlock different items that require energy to use, which you gain by making matches of four items or more. This items can be many things, like a bomb that clears everything in a four tile radious allowing you to bypass a tricky situation by blowing it into smitherings.
The point of these levels is to gather resources to build up the defense of a given village you are currently on, up to a point where you can fight back. Using the first stage as an example, you see the village destroyed and filled with spiderwebs, and the giant spiders that made said webs running around terrorizing the dwarfs. You start by rebuilding the town, then bolstering their defenses and even their morale with a monument to an ancient hero. Finally you clean the spiderwebs, symbolizing the fight being slowly won by the allied forces. You can take all those steps in any order, but the final one is always the same: Take up arms and defeat the enemy.
The Enthralling Realms: The Blacksmith's Revenge is an unexpectedly involved and deep story that will have you coming back for more with each stage. Definitely do not skip this one.