Academy of Magic: Dark Possession is an arcade-like tile matching game derived from the well-worn genre of “Bejeweled” style games. This genre has its roots in a classic arcade game from 1990 called “Columns”, which was itself was riff on Tetris and classic slot machines found in casinos. AoM:DP appears to be one in a series of similar games by the developer. It doesn’t stray far from its roots; just adds a few wrinkles.
The game consists of matching tiles in lines or columns of three or more. Matching more than three will add some saved power. The saved power can be used with special items that are acquired through completion of levels. When a level is completed, the player will get some number of stars and credit for “panes” that were cleared during the level. With enough stars and panes, the player can buy upgrades that will help clearing tiles, lines of tiles, or columns of tiles. Use of these items is required to progress past some levels, but in the early levels they are not needed.
The graphics are somewhat pixelated on a high-resolution screen and there is no option to change the resolution, an indication that this game is probably cross compiled for several platforms including mobile and tablet. The sounds and music are appropriate and well made. There is a back story and even some voiced narration that sounds fairly realistic, like a real human voice, but mechanical enough that it is probably artificial. The back story doesn’t really work itself into the game play, it just adds some color, so it can all be skipped.
Some of the levels present puzzles where it is possible to get into an unwinnable position. Some of the starting positions get complicated by locked tiles and complex board arrangements. There is an element of pure chance in the game, however the upgrades mentioned earlier will take care of virtually any problem if used sparingly or only when needed. This is a solid game, with no real flaws in it. It’s recommended for people that like the genre, or are looking for something mindless to play for a while.