Version Reviewed: 2.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Everything players need to know about TownCraft is in the name of the game. Craft a town. Make it a good one.
Flat Earth Games' town-builder has been available on the iPad for a little while already, but it's only recently been shrunk down to phone-size. In other words, all the building, forging, trading, selling, and tree-shaking fun of TownCraft is now more convenient than ever - though the smaller screen understandably makes character movement a little spotty at times.
TownCraft plops the player in the middle of a forest without many instructions on what they should do next. That's the point: TownCraft is a game about building a town with its own individuality. That said, there's an optional tutorial that teaches the basics of building, commerce, and cooking. It's highly recommended for players that have never played TownCraft, or just need a refresher. But as is the case with most games that end with -Craft, there's no wrong or right way to play TownCraft. Players are gently encouraged to harvest raw materials like wood and fruit, then create bigger, better stuff by combining said ingredients.
For instance, a house can be a simple cabin built from logs collected directly from trees. Or, players can turn the logs into planks on their crafting bench, build a door out of sticks and more planks, and assemble a house that's actually fit for a human being. They can even take things further by building a shop counter and scales, which turn the building into a shop when placed within. From there, a hired goon can sell built, baked, and harvested goods for decent prices.
There's an impressive amount of things to do and build in TownCraft. Wheat can be planted and harvested to become flour, which can become dough, which can be baked into bread. Or fish can be caught, cooked, and combined with pastry to become a delicious fish pie. If cooking is too froo-froo, try making and selling weapons for good times. Best of all, unlike the vast majority of town-building games on the App Store and Google Play, there's no premium currency to buy and no ads or in-game sales pitches. There are some minimal wait times for cooking and fermenting, but that's excusable since raw meat is pretty nasty.
There is one noteworthy issue with TownCraft: The touch-based controls can be a bit touchy, so to speak. Going in and out of buildings sometimes brings mild frustration, as tapping on an interior item (an oven, for instance) can send the player's avatar on a walk around the perimeter of the building instead. Also, I had an odd bug pop up from time to time where the touch controls stopped responding altogether until I rebooted the game.
These are minor problems that will likely be dealt with in future updates, however. Overall, it's good to have a game as time-consuming as TownCraft as a universal app.