Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Most matching games consist of a grid of items that the player must move around and reposition in order to get three or more matching items next to each other. Once lined up, these items will disappear and points are awarded. Just how this matching mechanic is used in each game will differ, and the ultimate goal of each game will differ as well. It is rare, however to find a game that actually changes the matching mechanic itself. TerraCraft does just that by taking some cues from the popular world building game, Minecraft.
TerraCraft is an ad supported free to play game. Players can also buy the premium version of the game via in-app purchase to unlock unlimited levels and remove ads from the game.
TerraCraft looks much like one would expect a matching puzzle game to look. There is a grid filled with artfully pixelated blocks of different colors that represent basic construction elements such as wood, rock, and dirt. Players much match these elements together and score enough points to progress to the next level. This isn't just a simple task of matching three items together though. At the beginning of each level, the player is shown a set of designs. These designs show how the player can arrange blocks in order to create items that will count as matches. For example, four wood blocks can be placed in a row to create a stick, or eight rock blocks can be arranged in the shape of an "I" to create a rock pillar. Once these items are constructed, they will disappear from the screen, fresh blocks will fall from the top to replace them, and the player will receive the amount of points awarded for constructing that item. Once the player has constructed enough items to reach the required number of points for that level, they progress to the next level. New designs are added each level, giving the player the option of building bigger and more complicated items that award more points for completion.
Other than using item construction instead of matching, this game has one more important difference from other matching games. Usually, players can only move items in the grid to adjacent spaces in the grid. In TerraCraft a block can be moved to and from any spot on the grid. This makes it easier to find the elements needed to construct a specific item, but harder because the options are wide open and it is up to the player to see the elements available over the whole screen and decide on what they'd like to construct.
This is a great matching game, and constructing items is a challenging new way to take on the genre. Players will need to be quick and clever to keep progressing in TerraCraft, but they'll have tons of fun doing so.