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Puzzle Craft Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on August 20, 2012


Puzzle Craft
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • 8-way tile swiping; allows for huge, complex matches.
  • Layered gameplay elements keeps leading you towards new goals; never without purpose in your play.
  • Timed bonuses actually feel like bonuses; not necessary to enjoy the game.

CONS

  • Never really shifts out of low-gear; new resources are introduced, but it's all much the same from start to 'finish'.

VERDICT

Puzzle Craft is a fine blend of addictive casual gameplay elements, giving rise to a puzzler that you'll gladly keep coming back to without the usual guilt-factor associated with repetitive gathering.


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'Casual' match-three mechanics; timers that spit out the occasional bonus; resource management tied to tiers of resource management... surely this is a recipe for disaster? It's a mix we've seen slapped together in the 'freemium' model, but is it really such a bad thing at all? Ars Thanea Games and Chillingo prove that you can have your cake and eat it too, pairing all the addictive elements of a freemium title together with a well balanced and deep sense of progression that feels rewarding instead of a vicious time-sink.

At its most basic level your goal is to build your kingdom from the ground up, starting with a simple farm, quarry and town hall. As you add more buildings and recruit more citizens, your ability to gather resources ramps up, giving you access to all new tiers of buildings... and you can see how this plays out.

To gather these resources you'll need to head down to the ground level, dropping in to a familiar grid set up where players can swipe vertically, horizontally and diagonally to match three or more tiles. Much like Dungeon Raid, this allows for huge combos which are appropriately rewarded with bonus points and tiles of a higher tier. The efficiency of these resource gathering ventures can be increased thanks to craftable tools, most of which require lower level resources.

Don't forget your citizens either - crafting homes and employing them reduces the amount of tiles required to create a stack of resources and if all else fails you can hit up the marketplace to trade your goods for more gold.

It's this deep weaving and layering of elements that means you always have something to do in Puzzle Craft; be it choosing the next best upgrade to your town; burning all the gold you have on gathering as many resources as possible; or collecting the 'taxes' that give you a tangible boost to your progress.

Puzzle Craft is the balanced application of casual and addictive features and as such a complete threat to any moment of spare time you have.

Screenshots

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