Trick 7: Kickout mode and Gravity

This post is mainly inspired by a comment our regular reader, MartinB105, left. As, most probably, he is not the only person wondering at the secret purpose of the Kickout mode and Gravity direction change, I’ve decided to make a post about it.

Kickout mode:

The main idea of it was that the far-sighted expert combinators from the ranks of our users could use it for pinpoint destruction of tokens that get in the way of great combos. This, however, proved a little too naive - no one has time and mood for this, any derivation from traditional match-3 is likely to be of much lesser usability. However, Kickout is still being put to use by two ways.

First, is Bonus and Chain activation. Bonuses activated with Kickout still have full effect, and chains are still removed. Thus, it is an easy way to clean the game field up a bit, and derive an extra profit from quicker bonus activations. And second way is - simple and ancient as gaming itself - button touchpad mash. Kick enough tokens out and pray the falls form an awesome combo.

Gravity direction:

Once more, the main idea behind this poor child of the game was giving skilled players an opportunity to make all the potential combos happen. Soon, however, it was understood that switching consumes too much precious time, and controlling in other positions is outright confusing. Still, however, gravity was kept for two reasons: for those people who have bought Vita because of touchscreen instead of, or in addition to, the touchscreen phone. They are more used to using the portrait screen format and might just find it useful. And second, we have inconsiderately told Sony we would use the SIXAXIS in our game. Funny as it sounds, it’s still a reason, eh? As for the most practical use of Gravity today, the best way is when you have to hold your Vita with one hand, on the side, vertically. Also, the “hint” button is placed right under the thumb this way, and can, to good or bad, be used more often.

So, I just hope Gravity does not really bother you very much.

41 Responses to “Trick 7: Kickout mode and Gravity”

  1. Steve says:


    I’m actually using these parts of the game correctly.

    On another note;
    I had a group of 7-10 people that I introduced to this game and that played it with me, and now I’m the only one left. I haven’t had another player share any crystals at all for a couple weeks since they’ve all quit playing.

    Is this becoming a problem for anyone else?
    What, if anything, can the TOMB crew do to draw players back or keep them longer?

    I’ve hyped the hell out of this game to everyone I come into contact with since it first released here in the US, and everyone loved it. But they’ve also moved on, due either to a lack of getting enough crystals, (which makes the game un-fun for them) or a lack of skill in playing the game. I give everyone as many tips as I can, but that only goes so far. They need to practice to get better.

    It leads me to wonder what the future of this game will be?

    I would suggest more crystals either through the daily scratch-off, or some other means. I know this can lead to the game being easier, but if too many people drop the game due to difficulty, that won’t be good for anyone.
    It would also be nice to see a bonus for sharing crystals with other people. The more you share the higher the bonus crystals you get for sharing.

    Your ideas?

  2. MartinB105 says:

    Some interesting info there. :)

    Can you please fix the levelling bug in the next update?

    The problem seems to occur when double XP is active. Sometimes, you will not receive crystals and lives when your level increases. I’m guessing the algorithm for determining when the rewards are given is only checking the normal XP amount and not factoring in the double XP.

    For example, if you need 5000 XP to advance to the next level, and you earn 3000, then the game says “You earned 3000 XP, which is not enough to get lives and crystals”.

    But then the actual advancement says “You earned 3000 XP, which is doubled to 6000, which puts you on the next level”.

    So you end up on the next level without any reward.

    At least, this is my guess anyway.

  3. warturtle16 says:

    I agree with both of the comments above. A ton of people have just stopped playing. Maybe being able to share a % of your total earnings for a day, or total earning up to a certain date would be a good idea. I am having trouble even trying to get the Nuclear Blast trophy because I don’t have the crystals to try and go for the trophy.

    In regards to the leveling up bug, I am just concerned that I am not getting my power ups because as you level up, leveling up your power ups becomes harder and harder to do.

  4. Dave says:

    I’m having the level up problem too. Not received crystals for my last two level ups. Rather annoying and limits my playtime.

  5. Dave says:

    It was level 31 and 32 by the way, have I missed any bonus item level ups? If so, can Alawar put this right for us?

  6. Psygnosis says:

    I remember that someone spoke about the time bonus, the animation is too slow. Are you going to fix it in the next update ? Because how many times I hit a time bonus in the last second but it doesn’ activate because the animation take 1 or 2 seconds !

    • Steve says:

      I have this happen pretty often as well, but it’s one of those things I’ve gotten used to.
      As soon as the warning chime starts I know down to the second when I’ll be out of time, and if I’ve hit a bonus, whether it will clear in time.

      It even makes a difference which section of the screen the bonus gem is on. Bottom left corner takes a longer time to get to the the clock than other spots.

    • MartinB105 says:

      Did anyone also notice that your game time at the end of a round is ALWAYS a multiple of 10? This is obviously not accurate because your time is capped at 60 seconds, so if you get a time bonus with 54 seconds remaining, you’ll only get 6 extra seconds, meaning the round time should be 1:06 (not say, 1:10).

      This also needs fixing.

      • Steve says:

        That’s one of those things that I noticed and try to ignore.
        It still really bugs me when I hit a great game and check to see how close I came to beating my longest time.

      • mJ_mSv says:

        I suppose its intendeed ingame, as the game would had been too easy if the time would stack above 1 minute… Would had made a huge diffrence for me atleast!, But I’m perfectly happy with it as it is too, it’s equal for all, so it’s challenging…

  7. Psygnosis says:

    I don’t think there’s a problem with that. Each time you get a time bonus, it adds 10 seconds to the 60 seconds game time. No ?

    • MartinB105 says:

      No. The timer is capped at a maximum of 60 seconds. If you have more than 50 (i.e. cap - time_bonus) seconds remaining, the time bonus will not add 10 seconds because it would exceed the cap.

      However, the game will still record the time bonus as an extra 10 seconds in your stats.

      For example, if you activate one time bonus with 54 seconds remaining, your total game time will be 1:06, because you only receive 6 seconds instead of 10, but at the end of the round, the game will say your game time was 1:10, which is clearly incorrect.

      Am I the only one who tries to avoid activating time bonuses when the timer is already full?


      Incorrect (current) algorithm:

      cap = dark ? 20 : 60;
      stat += bonus;
      remain = min(remain + bonus, cap);

      Correct algorithm:

      cap = dark ? 20 : 60;
      new_remain = min(remain + bonus, cap);
      stat += new_remain - remain;
      remain = new_remain;

  8. superpatchy66 says:

    I interpret this in a different way. A time bonus decreases your time taken by a maximum of 10 seconds. I.e. it winds time back giving you extra time.
    Quite clearly if you have been playing for 6 seconds, then you cannot reduce time past zero (the start time). That would be ridiculous.
    This is why I never purposely activate time bonuses at the start of the game.

    My major gripe with the game is that once you activate a purple bonus (or any colour), and then immediately activate another purple (or any colour), then it does not work. You have to wait a couole of seconds for the annimation to complete before another bonus can work. That delay can ensure that you either miss that coloured bonus, or that the chain breaks.

    • MartinB105 says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing too. You have to wait until the Totem has disappeared from the right side of the screen before you can activate another one to standby.

      The Green Totem is worse. Even if you trigger the Green Totem twice before allowing the tokens to fall (i.e. four green matches in a row), the second trigger will have no effect other than playing the trigger sound because all the crystals were already removed during the first trigger and no more appear until you let the tokens fall. This has happened to me a few times.

      Pretty annoying when you think “Wow, I’m getting so many crystals!” only to notice that you didn’t get anything from the second trigger.

  9. MartinB105 says:

    Another problem I’ve noticed:

    When using two Totems (let’s say Green and Purple): I swap a green and a purple token so that both disappear, but only one of the Totems becomes active, and of course often it’s not the one I want.

    Say I make two green matches, but the first match also simultaneously made a purple match. I don’t get my crystal bonus for two green matches, because the first green match also created a simultaneous purple match, which activating the Purple Totem, but not the Green Totem.

    There does not seem to be any way to determine or predict which colour Totem will be activated in this situation either.

    Yeah, I know I’m nitpicking now. :)

    • mk says:

      All the time. Alawar is now creating new patch “dedicated for Martin”

    • mJ_mSv says:

      It’s also a bit annoying when the “board” is accidently making the right totem match it’s not activated either, but I suppose it’s intendeed aswell so it will not be too easy (It could also destroy/change the totem if you already had one activated), if you’re fast enough you can flip the match made by board so it will count :), I think the game is designed to only have one totem activated at time, so when you actually get two it will prefer one of them, here it seems not random, but it will prefer always the same totem as long there is not one activated already, wich will match the activated instead luckely then :)

      • MartinB105 says:

        If a match is created as part of a chain reaction, then of course it won’t count.

        Think about how annoying it would be if your Totem activation got cancelled every time some other colour tokens happens to fall and create a match.

        I also use the trick of flipping the tokens to make them count. :)

        • mJ_mSv says:

          Yes, I would also be a bit upset sometimes if they destroy my original token, but I more often get angry becouse I for example match 3 purple tokens, and the board clears out the rest by itself, so none left to make the 2nd match… but yes, I just have to be quicker to flip them to count :), but I’m just a human afterall, lol There will always be + and - with such a game, I love it still thought :)

  10. Steve says:

    Have you noticed that the games hint never gives the best move?
    It doesn’t matter if you hit the button, or if you get the bonus.
    There’s usually a four or more move on the board but it will always have you do threes.
    This doesn’t bother me much with the hint button since I rarely ever use it and it’s almost cheating, but the hint bonus is kind of a pain.

    Also, if you hit the mix button, the game will give you a four-in-a-row option more than 50% of the time.

  11. superpatchy66 says:

    The duel totum issue you mention is a real nuisance. It usually accepts the wrong totum! Why can’t it realise that I want another green totum to match the green I already have, and not accept the other colour.

    I also agree with the hint issues you mention above too. Sometimes when you need a hint it displays one where you would rather retain those crystals for a totum.
    It would be nice if when you pressed hint again it would display a different hint. Likewise keep presiing hint to cycle through all available moves. Obviously doing so would waste time, so it would not be beneficial to constantly do so.

  12. superpatchy66 says:

    Not related to this blog, but does anyone please have any tips for getting the Nuclear Blast trophy? I waste between 10 and 20,000 crystals every day trying to get this. I’ve come very close on many occasions, but just can’t get it.

    Any tips would be very welcome. I use the first two bonuses (bomb and lightning), and let the end of game explode them all. Thanks.

    • mk says:

      Easiest way to get Nuclear blast
      -purple totem
      -orange totem
      -dynamite only(full upgraded dynamite have 3×3 explosion range)

      You need at least 9 dynamites if they are well spread to destroy the entire board.
      Other explosive bonuses make too much fuss if you accidentally turn them on.

    • MartinB105 says:

      I got it with dynamite and lightning and the Purple Totem, all fully upgraded.

      Get lots of destructive items on the board, then wait until the round ends so they all activate at once. It will still count for the trophy. :)

  13. Psygnosis says:

    For the Nuclear Blast trophy, I used the 3 destroy bonuses, and the purple totem. Beware of not hitting a destroy bonus before the end of the round, make all possible 4 or 5 tokens matches to add bonuses, and of course make purple matches twice to activate the totem as frequently as possible. When there is no purple match, hit the hint button until you have it. You can also hit the hint button to ensure the bomb bonuses are well dispatched all over the board. With a little luck, all will explode at the end of time.
    I hope this will help you. ;)
    And sorry if my english is not good.

  14. superpatchy66 says:

    Thanks MK and Psygnosis. I will give it a go. Your English is perfect by the way.

  15. MartinB105 says:

    Yesterday, after many many weeks, I finally ran out of crystals, so I had to play without any bonuses and totems enabled, and the game seem to become much easier, with better arrangements of tokens allowing more matches and far less locked tokens.

    Has anyone else noticed this? Co-incidence, or does the game board really change based on what’s activated? I’d love to hear an official explanation regarding this.

    • tomblitz says:

      Pure coincidence, or there is some wicked developer plot I don’t know about =). By design, the board logic does not depend on anything and stays the same, i.e. random, throughout the game. Chained amount depends only on level - increases with it, with maximum at level 99 and on.

  16. Steve says:

    I’m now at over two full months without a scratch-off that pays more than 1000 crystals. And I play daily.

    I’d think that odds of never hitting anything worth more than 1000 at least once in over 60 days has to be very slim.

    I first mentioned this problem when I had already gone a few weeks without a good win back in the “Sync issue is fixed in Vita firmware 1.80″ section, and I still haven’t hit anything above 1000.

    • MartinB105 says:

      I’ve had 2,000 two or three times since then, but not more, also playing daily. Before that, I had several 6,000’s and 15,000’s and once had a 40,000 too. The odds of higher wins have definitely decreased significantly.

      I don’t care much for the Crystals, as I tend to win enough just by playing the game normally, but it’s making Fortunate Son very slow to get. I only have about 20% progress according to my stats. :(

  17. Mitja says:

    The totem swapping I just take it as a design and am not bothered with it. I try to intercept the falling match.

    I have also noticed that playing without any powerup I get a nicer board in terms of matching arrangement and combo meter.

    For the past two months I think I haven’t gotten anything better than 1000 on daily scratch. Mostly 200, few 500 and about 4 1000s. Doesn’t matter to me as I have accomulated around 250k and when playing with powerups I tend to win everything back with crystals and level-up bonuses.

    I am hunting the 100 hour trophy but have little idea where I am. :) I have little less than 1800 ziggurats, and around 18 hours of time shown in stats. I would assume I have average time between 2 and 3 minutes. Alawar is it possible to add the average time of game session per life/ziggurat in stats or let me know the time before the stat counting?:)

    I rarely use the kickout as it is fairly inacurate and since it’s mapped 1:1 to front you can’t kickout last row. Would it be possible to show the location of the back finger with some glow or transperent circle if you would just stick the finger on the back panel and for actual kick you would need to tap it on that spot?

    In general I am having vita lock up on 1.81 firmware every other day. After restart it usualy can not prepare any app to start. I figured it out that just restoring vita to factory settings without formating memory card somehow fixes the issue. But you have to setup everyhing anew and after evey restore TOM pops up info about last trophy earned. :) Wich in my case was fortunate son. Always got me thinking for a second I got the missing denizen. :)

  18. JokerLS240 says:

    If anyone is lacking friendly competition and shared crystals, send me a friend request! I play multiple times every day, my level is 126 at the moment, and I only have 1 other PSN friend that plays.

    Add me - PSN ID: JokerLS240.

    • JokerLS240 says:

      BTW, I also use Kickout Mode (”button” mashing) and Gravity. Gravity mostly to try to get power-ups when no moves are available and when Kickout is active and I have a time adder at the very bottom row - just turn the Vita upside-down (screen facing away and upside-down) and mash away at the rear touchpad. Flip it back over while Kickout is still going to grab your time adder or other bonus/power-up.

      Works like a charm every time! :-D

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