In an App Store stuffed to the brim with clones and tired ideas, a game like Triple Town is a rare treat. Like chess, it’s a strategy game with a set of simple rules that govern the actions of a variety of pieces. Also like chess, the deeper you dig, the more complexity you unearth. To top it off, the game is mega-addictive, and it’s free to play. Not bad for a game full of cartoon bears.
Technically it’s a freemium game, but don’t let that scare you off. At no point do you ever have to spend money on the game, and in fact buying the in-game currency effectively nullifies the leaderboards. That’s unfortunate, but the leaderboards aren’t the star of Triple Town– it’s the gameplay.
The playing area in Triple Town is a six-by-six grid, and you’re given one playable piece at a time. The pieces are things like grass, shrubs, trees, houses, and the aforementioned bears. You can place the pieces in any empty square, but if you lay three in a row, all three get sucked up and combine into a new, more valuable piece. Clearly, the game has roots in the Match-3 genre, but the developers have added so many extra layers and innovations that it’s barely recognizable.
Ignore the devil bear in the corner.
The goal is to combine and re-combine your pieces in order to rack up as many points as you can before running out of space. There are lots of variables that get in the way, however, like wandering bears that block spaces you might want to use, robots you can drop to destroy things, and crystals that act as wild cards. If you play well, you’ll end up with a bustling city, full of houses, churches, mansions, trees, and cathedrals. Little people will even come out of the structures and wander around town while you play.
The biggest caveat is that you’re given a limited number of moves for free. These will last you a couple of hours before running out, and if you stop playing they’ll restock over time. If you don’t want to wait once you run out of moves, you can buy unlimited moves for a few bucks through in-app purchase. By that point, you’ll certainly know whether or not it’s worth the price.
Triple Town is a clean, simple game with loads of strategic depth. Everyone with a love for puzzle or strategy games should give it a try. Just make sure you clear out a chunk of your day to devote to it, because it’s that good.