App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
“Match three” puzzlers may differ in presentation, but anyone who has touched the genre can pick up something similar and generally fall right into a comfortable groove. Triple Town, on the other hand, marries the relative simplicity of that mechanic with a city building aesthetic and a surprising amount of depth. The result? The most addictive portable game I've played so far this year.
Oh, and bears. Lots of bears.
It may seem hyperbolic to throw such praise around in January, but I’ll be shocked if anything in the immediate future usurps Triple Town’s crown. I honestly wasn't prepared for how much I enjoyed it, as I initially found the cutesy graphics cloying and figured the city building would be a bit gimmicky. It turns out I was correct about that, as the town is just a visual conceit to tie the whole concept together. The graphics, on the other hand, rapidly grew on me.
Especially those bears. Did I happen to mention the bears?
Gameplay involves placing three or more like items adjacent to one another, which then combine to form more complex items. Patches of grass make a bush, bushes form trees, trees become houses, etc. When players run out of room, the town is scored according to its age and complexity. Simple enough.
But then there are the bears. Don’t forget them.
Periodically, bears appear in the queue, wandering the map, scaring tiny townsfolk and generally being in the way of expansion. Boxing them in so that they can’t wander reduces them to gravestones, which build churches, then cathedrals. Probably the less said about this strange, bear-based theology the better. Players will be too distracted by constantly treading the line between directing the growth of their fledgling community and ursine clean-up duty to worry about it anyway.
And that’s before we even get to the ninja bears. No, that wasn't a typo.
Triple Town’s only real drawback is the limited number of turns. Normally they regenerate at the rate of one per minute, but the refresh rate while the app is closed is currently bugged. Those in dire need can shell out the exorbitant sum of $7 for unlimited turns (currently discounted, due to the bug, to a far more reasonable $4) or squeak by on those purchased via coins earned in-game.
Springing from the grounds of Facebook as it did, it would be easy to write off Triple Town as another shallow distraction. This would be a sad mistake, however, as the strategic planning of moves requires more forethought than is initially apparent. I wouldn't be at all surprised for this to become the next big iOS hit (especially if they lower the price for unlimited turns into realistic territory); Spry Fox could well have a winner on their hands here.
And before long, you’ll have hordes of bears on yours.