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How to enjoy Treasures of Montezuma Blitz without spending a penny

Submitted by on Monday, 7 May 2012No Comment

Treasures of Montezuma Blitz is dubbed a free-to-play puzzler; but no doubt quite a few of you picked it up, played five games and then found yourself feeling slightly miffed when it asked you to cough up 79p to play another five.

That’s not great value, is it? 79p for five minutes of gameplay. Let’s take it to the next logical step: it will set you back £9.48 for an hour of semi-uninterrupted gameplay – you can pick up Deus Ex: Human Revolution for less than that and enjoy over 30 hours of high-quality entertainment.

This isn’t the only way the free-to-play tag is tested. Soon after you will find yourself being asked to buy crystal packs. These pay for the perks you use, necessary for achieving the highest scores. Basic perks start at 100 crystals per game and upgrading them will set you back several thousand.

You can buy crystal bundles from the store. The prices – and what they equate to – can be found below. As you can see, they’re not cheap.

  • £15.99 100,000 crystals (500 games with two basic power-ups)
  • £7.99 30,000 crystals (150 games with two basic power-ups)
  • £5.49 15,000 crystals (75 games with two basic power-ups)
  • £3.99 8,000 crystals (40 games with two basic power-ups)
  • £2.39 3,000 crystals (15 games with two basic power-ups)

So, is Treasures of Montezuma Blitz (or Tomblitz, as they sometimes call it) a complete swiz? Not quite. The value above is terrible and we shouldn’t humour it. However, you can play Tomblitz completely free. It’s biggest crime is that it makes barely any effort to explain how in the game. That’s where this article comes in.

Your lives will replenish after time with one heart returning roughly every two minutes on level one. But the time it takes will increases as you move up the ranks. It will take around 5.40s to replenish once you reach level seven.

Each game usually lasts a minute, so you will only frustrate yourself if you try to play it obsessively, hopelessly staring at your Vita waiting for those hearts to pop up. It may be worthwhile doing this on the early levels but don’t bother once you reach the later ones.

It is better instead to treat Tomblitz like a bitsize snack inbetween more substantial experiences. Pick it up for five minutes before or after a long session on LiveTweet or Uncharted, for example – or maybe you have a five-minutes window to fill in the morning, on your break, during lunch or sometime in the evening.

Those crystals are not completely out of reach either. Every day you get a scratch card with which can unlock anything from 100 to 100,000 crystals. The latter is worth £15.99 remember. It’s unlikely you will get 100,000 but you are likely to get something from 400 to 1000 crystals on most days. That’s enough to play a decent number of games with some perks.

Share your crystals using Near. Gift sharing in Near is more useful than many seem to have realised. Click the share button after rubbing your scratch card every day. This will share 20% of your crystal earnings with people in your area and those on your friends list. You won’t lose any.

By encouraging a culture of sharing through Near, we should all be able to enjoy a steady supply of crystals every day.

You can also earn crystals in-game. Admittedly, you can’t earn an awful lot. But if you aim for the treasures which contain gems, you will unlock them. High scores will see the number multiplied. There is also a crystal bonus perk which allows “up to five gems on the game board at once”. It will set you back 100 crystals, so you have to rack up a good score for it to be worthwhile.

Finally, if you simply can’t be bothered to wait for new lives and you’re, understandably, reluctant to pay for refills. All I can say is that the life replenishing system is linked to PS Vita’s system time. I wonder what will happens if you manually add some time to the clock… Mmm. (note: it won’t replenish until it reaches the next update point from the time it was last played, e.g. if you add an hour and then return the clock to normal, it won’t start adding hearts again until an hour later plus the usual refreshment time.)

You may ask, why should I bother going through this hassle? All I can say is that Tomblitz may be a Bejewelled clone, but it’s a very good clone. It has some nice twists to the genre and it suits Vita’s five-inch screen. If only Alawar’s business model was simpler: a FTP option (with limitations) alongside a one-off payment option (i.e. pay £5 to £10 for unlimited play and 1000 crystals per day – the rest can be made up in-game or through the scratch card) would have been much more palatable.