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Puzzle Craft

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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Product: Puzzle Craft | Developer: Ars Thanea | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: Android | Genre: Puzzle, Simulation | Players: 1 | File size: 44.9MB | Version: Europe
Puzzle Craft Android, thumbnail 1
Menial jobs have made a comeback thanks to freemium games like FarmVille. Gamers don't want to be superheroes or unstoppable killing machines any more - they want to tend their crops, sell their wares, and not pay very much attention.

Puzzle Craft mashes together this desire for ordered, slow-paced creation with a simple puzzle mechanic. It makes for a slightly more involved city building experience, albeit not one without its flaws.

Food for thought

At the start of the game you have an open field, a few coins, and an overwhelming urge to build a settlement. So you spend your coins on a farm, a mine, and a couple of cosy cottages to entice people in to your new hamlet.

Rather than just sitting back and watching the lumps of rock and sheaves of corn come rolling in, you need to take an active role in their collection. This is where the puzzling element of the game comes into play.

When you decide it's time to bring in the harvest, you tap on your farm, and then pay the wages of your farm hands. From there you're taken to a six-by-six grid full of potential foodstuffs and building materials.

There are trees to chop into wood, chickens to roast, wheat to turn into grain, and long grass to turn into thatch. It's your job to trace a line through three or more pieces of the same crop - once you've done that they're put into storage, and more fall down to take their place.

Miner disturbances

You have a set number of moves you can make before the year is up and your workers won't collect any more crops, so you need to make sure that every line you draw is bagging you as much food or building material as possible.

In the mine, things are slightly different. Your miners need provisions for their trip underground, so you'll have to make sure you've got enough food from the farm to keep them alive while they're digging out the rock and metal you need to build new houses.

You're still drawing lines through different minerals and seams of ore to collect them, but this time a lot of the screen is taken up with useless mud, which you'll have to dig out if you want to get longer chains of building materials.

Once you've excavated, you can use your materials to build new houses and businesses. These add bonuses to the puzzle section of the game, like putting more grain on the farm, or letting your miners take more food with them when they go digging.

Coin a phase

Longer chains of materials will grant you bonuses, most of which can only be collected in this way, or by buying them at the market with some of the coins you get from taxes, working, and selling your own goods.

Puzzle Craft is certainly a unique experience among city-building titles, but if you come to it expecting a deep, engrossing puzzle title, you're going to be horribly disappointed. It's fun in small doses, but the puzzling is never anything more than a distraction.

If you're sick of just swiping and tapping while you try and build up your casual empire, though, Puzzle Craft offers a neat alternative. It's entertaining, very well-constructed, and its in-app purchase model never gets in the way of your enjoyment.

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Puzzle Craft
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 21 August 2012
An entertaining experiment, Puzzle Craft won't convert anyone to its slow-paced cause, but it'll certainly keep fans entertained
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