Treasures of Montezuma Arena Review

Treasures of Montezuma Arena is a free-to-play title recently released on the PlayStation Vita. It features Story and Tournament modes that you can play through to collect crystals and items.

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Treasures of Montezuma Arena is your typical match-3 puzzle title, only in this game you can go up against other players. Well, you can’t exactly “go up against” them, but I’ll talk about that in a bit. As mentioned, the game does feature a Story mode alongside the Tournament mode. Your goal here is to make it to the top to face up against Cortez and rescue some person. I didn’t really pay much attention to the story… I just know that there seemed to be far too many rounds to do to make it to the top.

Once you do make it to the top you face up against Cortez… or is it Cortes? Who knows, the game spells it both ways it seems. After doing so, you’re faced with one final opponent… and soon after met with a “to be continued” screen. Once you make it to this screen, you have completed story mode and can no longer do any sort of matches in it, leaving you only able to do Tournaments.

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Now, I find this to be a bad thing. Why? Because story mode was the best way to get crystals. Tournaments reward very few (when you do win), and there are a lot of items to buy. Now, you could just use real money to buy your crystals, but really, $70 for 1 million crystals? That’s just a little insane. Granted, I hardly ever spend money on free-to-play titles, but $70 is more than a full retail game.

2014-08-03-223901.jpgAs for tournament mode itself, I’m sort of hit or miss if I like it. Losing to an opponent seems to make you lose more honor than if you win. Honor is used for ranking in the leaderboards, and there’s also a trophy tied to it. For example, if someone attacks me and wins I typically lose around 70 honor. If I attack someone, I win… 35. A bit unbalanced?

Now I previously mentioned that tournament is more of a “go up against” than actually going up against someone. When you “challenge” someone in there, your opponent is completely controlled by the AI. This leads to them doing moves either side would never dream of doing. Sure, it might have been a bit more difficult to do real time duels, but seeing as the AI in this title can be pretty terrible at times… Yeah, a better solution would be nice.

Treasures of Montezuma Arena features equipment and usable items you can purchase. While you’re going through Story mode you’ll find some usable items, but once you’ve exhausted that you must use crystals to purchase them. The same goes with equipment that, while not one time use, is much more expensive. This leads into, once again, either having to grind a lot of Tournament once you’ve finished Story mode or just purchasing the crystals… Neither really ideal. Though I suppose it’s about what you can expect from a free-to-play title.

Going back to equipment, perhaps it’s just me but I sometimes find it difficult to actually determine what goes into what slot. I’m starting to get the hang of it, but now that I’ve lost my ability to get crystals from Story mode I’m even less inclined to purchase equipment.

Within Tournament mode there is also weekly and daily “elite” tournaments. You enter these by, once again, spending your crystals. The top players win a decent chunk of crystals. Unfortunately, it seems quite difficult to determine if you’re actually going to be in the top or not. While I stopped touching Tournament for a bit to focus on using my plays to complete Story mode, I read stories of people being in the top 3 all week and ranking around 250. That seems slightly broken.

In the end though, Treasures of Montezuma Arena is a fun little distraction game. Just hope you don’t mind losing all your progress towards gaining honor because some random higher level person attacked you! Also, hope you don’t mind paying real money for Endless mode, because that’s what you have to do – and that’s why I hadn’t mentioned it until now.

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Treasures of Montezuma Arena Review Score

3/5

It is a decent distraction but some of the points that scream “pay to win” are really off-putting.

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