Puzzle Craft (univeral) by Chillingo is a mix of two immensely popular iOS genres: town building and match three puzzles. It sounds like an odd match, but thanks to the game’s well thought out gameplay, works well and feels like a shot in the arm to an oversaturated market.
Most town building games – even those that aren’t free – are built around an endless cycle of consuming money by building and upgrading, followed by a whole lot of waiting to continue on. Puzzle Craft has some of those features – tax can only be collected every few hours, for example – but it’s not designed to bury players behind a pay wall, instead opening the town up for new activities and achievements to provide a wide array of tasks to complete every day.
Every year in one’s created town brings about a number of different tasks, from farming to mining, all for obtaining materials and resource to grow the town into a bigger, more efficient version of itself. Each of the aforementioned actives are played out not by pressing a button and waiting, but playing a simple game of match-three.
For example, farming involves connecting chains of trees, grains, and chickens to gather food, which is later used for activities like mining. During mining, players remove dirt by hand or with consumable power-ups like shovels, gathering stones and metals to build new structures to bring more people and money into the town. After awhile, the match-three games get a little repetitive, but the ability to control what resources are considered important – not to mention the different power-ups and enhanced abilities that keep things from coming completely stale.
The rest of the game is pretty standard town building fare – build new and improved buildings, produce resources, and so forth. Thankfully, it’s wrapped in a warm, colorful package, a much more appealing look than the boring, repetitive visuals of its many genre counterparts. Light background music wraps out the package, which keeps things fairly simple and without extraneous, flashy special effects.
Town building fans will want to grab a copy of Puzzle Craft and its unique brand of gameplay. It won’t blow any new gamers away with anything new or revolutionary, but the fun combination of puzzling and community building makes for a great, feudal-themed title for any iOS device.