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Chuck dice or get squished in this free match puzzle game

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(Image credit: seancode)

Beautiful Castle Death Machine is an Ancient-Japan-themed fan remake of the game Palamedes, which as we all know—*opens Wikipedia*—is a Taito puzzle game where you have to throw and match dice citation needed. The match-3-esque puzzler was released for the Arcade, NES and GameBoy, but as far as I can tell it's been stuffed in a dicey vault since the year 1990, so it's nice to see developer seancode dusting the concept off and recreating it for the browser.

You play as a little person who will be imminently crushed by a descending wall of giant dice, just like in that nightmare you're going to have tonight. To prevent this grim fate, you can throw your own dice upwards, which will clear any similarly sided dice they make contact with. Say there's a die with the facing '1' dangerously close to the protagonist. You select 1, by tapping Up a few times, and then you throw it at the offending die, removing both.

That's how I played the game the first few times, and I found it extremely difficult. Turns out I'd misunderstood the rules, and ignored the 'make' button, which you can use to remove entire lines of dice from the board. You do this by clearing dice in sequence: say by clearing a 1, then a 2, then 3, 4, 5 and 6 in that order. Hit the 'make' button now and you'll remove probably several lines from the game, but you can clear smaller areas by matching just a few 1s, or perhaps a 2, a 3 and a 4.

It sounds complicated, and it probably will be a bit confusing the first couple of times you play, but this is an engaging puzzle game that I highly recommend to match-3 fans. You can play it here. (Thanks, Warp Door.)

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.