The Average Gamer

Puzzle Craft Review (iOS)

Puzzles? Crafting? Mobile gaming addiction? Chillingo Ltd were singing my song when they put together this idea for a new waste of time. The game foists upon you a little hamlet and tasks you with improving the mini-citizens lives and, more importantly, your kingdom’s coffers.

It all seems so exciting at first – cute graphics, not-too-annoying music, expansion, town improvement and gameplay all nicely explained as you’re going along. Lovely! Until you realise, there’s only one puzzle (and not a very engaging one at that).

Your obedient peons need resources with which to build your mighty city and in order to help them you’ll be drawing lines on your mobile device ad infinitum. Think Bejeweled but with none of the fun.

Over and over and over and over with the only variation being new things appearing to make that more trying, by the time I’d got as far as my crops field spawning wolves to impede my progress, I’d had enough.  You do have a time limit – either days in a year or the amount of food you can take with you for mining – and this can be increased by building relevant upgrades from your collected resources.

Gold begets a chance to go farming and collect food, which in turn, you’ll need in order to go mining. Building upgrades are available to give permanent bonuses to your happy land, with consumable tool upgrades designed to make some of the chore of resource collecting bearable. Mining, unfortunately, is the same puzzle as Farming. So yes, you’ll be matching again.

On paper, the combination of match puzzles and empire building should be pure win-tastical but there’s not enough jazzy-handed content to hide the very obvious “hamster on a wheel” gameplay. As such, once the initial learning curve has being mastered there’s just nothing left to devour. It’s a shame, as for £0.69, there is undeniably a lot of game here but it’s just one of those titles you’ll pick up when bored rather than grab your iPad above all other things. I’m looking at you Tiny Tower.

Puzzle Craft is out now for iOS 4.0 or later.

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