Disney's Maleficent Free Fall, a magical match three puzzle game for Windows Phone 8

Maleficent Free Fall hit the Windows Phone Store last week in advance of the Disney movie Maleficent that is due out in theaters on May 30th. The latest Windows Phone 8 game from Disney Studios places a dark twist on the match three game.

The multi-level, multi-chapter game has you following a young Maleficent through the years tackling a wide assortment of match three challenges. You earn magic that can be used to unlock power-ups that will help you survive the puzzles.

Maleficent Free Fall is a well animated, entertaining gaming option for Windows Phone 8 and if you're looking for a challenging puzzle game, it's worth checking out.

Game Layout

Maleficent Free Fall has an opening home screen that has the option to jump into game play and in the upper left corner of this screen, you will see an "M" tab that will pull up your gaming options. This tab will appear throughout the chapter views and gaming screens. Options include turning on/off the game sounds and music, view the help screens, view the about screen and return to the home screen.

Game play with Maleficent Free Fall has seventy-five levels of play that are spread out across five chapters. Each chapter represents a stage in Maleficent's life with the first starting at her childhood.

The chapters are illustrated as pages in a book that has the level path spanning these pages. In the upper right corner of the chapter pages, you will see your number of lives and your magic counter. Lives are replenished periodically (you'll see a countdown timer or you can purchase lives via in-app purchase ($.99 to re-fill to the full 5 lives). Magic is earned through game play or you can buy magic through in-app purchase as well (prices vary from $.99 to $49.99). Just tap the display banner to pull up IAP options.

Game Play

At the heart of game play with Maleficent Free Fall is your typical match three styled game. You are presented with a collection of gems that you have to swap around to create matches of three or more to have them removed from game play and earn points.

Where Maleficent Free Fall makes the game more challenging is that with each level, you have a set number of moves to achieve two goals, a scoring goal and a performance goal. The performance goals range from converting a dark section of the gaming board to light by creating a match on that section to unchaining gaming pieces by creating a match involving those pieces.

Matches of more than three can generate bonus items that can eliminate rows of gems, destroy all the adjacent gems and more. You can also generate a cascade of matches that will help you reach the scoring goal.

Maleficent Free Fall does a good job to walk you through each challenge when you face them for the first time. The tutorials will also walk you through using magic points that can be used to launch power-ups during game play. Magic can also be used to generate extra moves, launch Maleficent's raven, Diaval, to eliminate gaming pieces and more.

Game play, as well as the chapter screens, supports vertical and horizontal orientations. Maleficent oversees your gaming progress and will gesture towards you every now and then. One neat feature of the game is that if you tilt your Windows Phone, the background will shift with your movements.

If you fail a level of play, it'll cost you a life. Run out of lives and you will have to wait until time allows your lives to replenish or cough up $.99 to replenish your lives through an in-app purchase.

Game play is rather challenging. While many match three games concentrate on scoring or the number of pieces you remove, Maleficent offers quests that require a little more strategy.

Overall Impression

Maleficent Free Fall is a fun game to pass the time with and with seventy-five levels of play (that aren't push overs) it has plenty of staying power.

The graphics throughout the game are well drawn-up, even though the young Maleficent is a little on the creepy side. I like the duel challenges with game play, which adds to the challenge of the game.

Overall, Maleficent Free Fall is an appealing addition to the match three genre of Windows Phone games and worth the download. Maleficent Free Fall is a free gaming title with plenty of in-app purchase opportunities. The game is available for Windows Phone 8 devices and you can find your copy of Maleficent Free Fall here in the Windows Phone Store.

There is also a Windows 8 version of Maleficent Free Fall available for those looking to play the game on a larger screen. You can find that copy of Maleficent Free Fall here in the Windows Store (free as well).

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.