Triple Town: A Fantastic Twist on Match-3 Games

This game was a huge hit on Kindle, Facebook, and Google+, and it’s now available for Android. So what is Triple Town? At its core its a match-3 game like Bejeweled, but with less emphasis on speed and more emphasis on strategy. This combination makes for a highly addictive, very clever puzzle game.

Gameplay

The rules of this game seem a little odd at first, but they are easy to understand once you spot the pattern. You are randomly given an item, such as a tuft of grass or a bush (and sometimes bears and robots!) which you place in an available space on the board grid.

When you get three of the same type touching one another, they ‘upgrade’: for example, three tufts of grass merge to form a single bush. The bush will be positioned wherever the ‘completing’ piece of grass was placed, so it’s important to fit that rule into strategies. Once you have three bushes, that becomes a tree, three trees makes a house, three houses a modern house, and so on.

Occasionally you get to place bears or robots. The bears may look cute and cuddly at first, but when you put them down they are a right nuisance, wandering around the board and getting in your way. You can’t simply wait for them to move, as they only do so when you place an item. The idea is to trap them; when they have nowhere to go, they turn into tombstones. Three tombstones together makes a church, three churches a cathedral, and… I wasn’t lucky enough to see what three cathedrals turns into.

The Robots are very useful and will destroy any single item of your choosing from the board. For example take a look at my ‘before and after’ screenshot below; in the bottom left there is a rock which I may as well remove. Then, I’d have a free space to put a tuft of grass, which would combine with the surrounding ones to make a bush.

Before and After! It took me about ten minutes to 'finish the settlement'

This game gives you a good feeling when you make a smart choice. For example, when the grid is filled up with junk and it looks like it’s about to be Game Over or ‘Settlement Finished’, an item you desperately need will come along and let you complete three houses you have being trying to get rid of. This opens up a space to make a bush which then completes three bushes, then you manage a tree… You get the idea, a domino-effect of recovery. Of course eventually you do run out of luck, but it’s always a great run.

One really useful feature is the ‘swap out’ post in the top left corner. If you want to save an item for later (a robot perhaps) you can place it here, and then come back for it at any time. When you need it, swap out your current item for it.

Highly Addictive

Many simple games we get on our phones are extremely addictive, and Triple Town is no exception. I was on here for a straight hour and half before putting down my phone to start writing this review. It’s not just the gameplay which is addictive either. It’s an easy to play, rewarding, happy game. That contributes towards it being addictive as much as anything about the game mechanics.

What Else?

This game is Freemium. You are given the whole game for free, but you have to either pay to unlock unlimited moves across all of your games, or wait for them to replenish. One move takes about one minute of ‘charging’. You can see in this screenshot that I am out of moves. Nothing to do but wait or pay $3.99 to unlock unlimited moves.

The sole downfall of the game.

You can buy ‘bonus turns’ with the coins you earn by finishing games or creating chests of gold and higher-level buildings, and use them to keep a game going. However, this spoils things slightly because you focus on earning coins and not points. I feel that, if you like the game, you’ll be better off spending the real-world cash than trying to gain in-game coins.

The bigger idea with the coins is that they allow you to buy items you need for a turn rather than hoping you get lucky and it pops up anyway. If your last game was good you will have earned coins to use in the next one. They stack up too, so if you don’t use coins for several games you’ll have loads available when you need them.

Something else that is quite useful is the ability to hover over any item in the game and read a little equation that pops up. The equation tells you what the item can be upgraded to, as well as what is presently surrounding it which can be used in the upgrade.

For the competitively minded amongst you, Triple Town is fully OpenFeint integrated with a rack of achievements you can unlock.

Come Back Later

Should your bus journey or reason for playing Triple Town come to an end, or you want to use another application, it is quite safe to tap your Home key and close the game. All of your game data such as building positions and points is saved, so when you load the game back up later you arrive exactly where you left off.

Final Thoughts

Altogether, I think Triple Town is a great free puzzle game and suggest you try it. I guarantee you will be on it for hours due to its long-term playability. As for the AppStorm rating, I am sure this game deserves 9/10. The game is free to download, and you have the option of buying unlimited turns in-game for $3.99.


Summary

An addictive puzzle game, based on the careful construction of a settlement to amass points.

9
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