Very rarely do I ever find myself trusting the Apple Genius add on. I normally get things like “oh I can see you like zombies by the number of games and apps you have purchased recently. Maybe you would like the Glee app”. So when I do find myself trusting the Genius suggestions and then find myself hooked on the very same game, then I tend to want to shout about it. A lot. Puzzle Craft is one of those games.
Now how can you describe Puzzle Craft, well it’s basically a love affair between a match three puzzler and a town building sim with the unexpected pregnancy of a few RPG elements thrown in as well.
Your main goal in Puzzle Craft is to build up your small tiny Hamlet into the kingdom of all kingdoms through the two main types of manual labour – mining and farming. Every couple of hours your “Main Hall” building collects taxes from the area which you then use to pay workers to either mine or farm.
When you farm you have to harvest Wheat, Grass, Pigs, Chickens, Trees and Carrots using a tracing method made popular in Dungeon Raid. You are given 24 turns (2 for every month of the year) in which you have to harvest as much of everything as you possibly can.
With the items you harvest you can make tools such as rakes, and compost and axes which are basically power ups for the following farming year which can be used to collect certain items dependant on the tool. For example Rakes will collect all grass that is on the screen.
Farming also allows you to generate food, which you can then use to purchase turns in the mines. In the mines the same trace to match game occurs but instead of wheat and grass, you have dirt, rock and iron which allow you to build even better and bigger tools as well as allow you to create silver and gold.
Both games are simple to begin with but as you level up more and more challenges are put in your path. Rats that eat your grass and wolfs that attack your chickens in the farming area and the risk of letting too much gas accumulate in the mines which causes a cave in and limits the number of workable squares you have due to the rubble it leaves behind.
If that wasn’t addictive enough for the toilet gamers amongst us then Puzzle Craft takes the “just one more go” aspect one step further and introduces the town building aspect of the game. With enough food and iron you can build a cottage. With a cottage you can hire some more workers. When you hire workers you get a reduction in how many tiles you need to collect to make a set. Less tiles needed = a more bountiful harvest which means more food and tools that you can take to the mines. This means you come out of the mines with a lot more materials which means you can build bigger buildings which means……well I guess you get the idea.
Even though the option to make in-game purchases is available, I never once felt that I had to make that purchase as the game trundled along at a good steady pace. I never once felt that I had to stop in order for my money to build up before I could continue. In fact I lost an entire evening to this game a couple of days ago and I have lost the circulation in my legs from sitting on the toilet too long on more than five occasions this week.
The fun of Puzzle Crack, sorry I mean Puzzle Craft is empathised in the presentation. The hand drawn characters have an amazing amount of detail in them. The background music is nothing short of catchy and I dare you not to want to buy more workers after they arrive in your bustling area with a George Takei style “Hellllllllllllooooooooooooo”.
Puzzle Craft is not only one of the most addictive, fun and entertaining puzzle games I have played in a very long time, it is also great value for money at 69p and even though it is a late entry it is still very much a contender for my iOS Game of The Year.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Puzzle Craft was purchased by SiStevens. The title was reviewed over the course of a week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.