Indie Quickie: Triple Town

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

TripleTown_1

What is it? A puzzle-based city building game with a light touch of strategy.

Who made it and where can you get it? This colony of casual fun was founded by Spry Fox. The game first launched as freemium with in-app purchases on Kindle, Facebook, Google+, iOS and Android, but most recently made the jump to Steam as the “ultimate hardcore version” for $9.99. Act fast, and the game can be yours during the Summer Sale for only $3.99. Check out Spry Fox’s website for access to download links to all platforms.

How much did we play? Nearly two hours whizzed by as I matched tiles and built multiple pint-size colonies.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? For some reason when I came back to my game for a third time (just to have it open for reference while writing this), my progress from the two previous sessions was wiped and I was stuck back at the beginning tutorials. As far as I can tell there is no manual save/load option, so it would seem to be a fault of the game rather than user error.

TripleTown_2

Why should you play it?

    • Match-Three Civilization: Triple Town is a match-three puzzle game, but unlike other puzzlers in which the goal simply is to match like-colored pieces and post as high a score as possible there is a greater purpose behind the core mechanic of combining three or more items of a kind. Scoring points is still the main objective, but to earn a high score you need to use the randomly provided puzzle pieces to build a colony for a burgeoning fantasy kingdom. At the base level, three pieces of grass create a bush, three bushes form a tree, three trees build a hut, and three huts combine to form a house, and you continue this sequence of evolution until all squares on the map are filled and it becomes impossible to expand the village any further. As the game gets more complex, houses become mansions, mansions become castles, and on and on. Standing in your path to kingdom domination are pesky bears that creep into the field of play and take up space, making it tougher to grow the bushes and trees needed to erect the higher-point-fetching buildings. The only way to take out these bears is to trap them into a single square or take them out with a robot, at which point they turn into gravestones. As you might have already guessed, gravestones then factor into the match-three reward loop, turning into churches, and then cathedrals. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit more strategy involved than quickly sliding gems around. The seemingly clashing genres have been skillfully woven together.

    • Kingdom Sim Metagame: A key benefit to the Steam version of the game (as far as I know it is not included in the mobile versions), is the addition of the Capital City, where you slowly develop a home base area in between puzzle sessions. From this central kingdom hub, you sail off to one of a few different map variants to do your puzzle colony building. By reaching certain point totals the farms and military outposts in the Capital City will produce additional resources to put towards higher-tier building upgrades as well as coins to spend in the item shop. The puzzle matching gameplay is fun on its own; the Capital City merely unifies progress and makes it so that every round played is contributing toward a grander objective.

    • Aesthetically Pleasing: Cute. Quaint. Toy-like. These are but a few words that apply to Triple Town’s appearance, which I would further describe as being a digitized replication of a miniature children’s play set that a company like Fisher Price or Playskool might sell at the nearest Toys ‘R Us. The colors are vivid, the art is clean and crisply detailed, and there is a charming smallness to the characters and buildings that gives the game a broad, loveable appeal. Too bad I can’t say the same thing about the audio. Except for the occasional bear growl or bird chirp, the game is almost completely silent. A cheery background ditty would have been a nice compliment to the visuals.

Parting Thoughts: Underneath the cutesy exterior and straightforward match-three play mechanic, Triple Town has a layer of depth and strategy beyond that of the average casual game. It’s still simplistic and accessible, to the point that the allure does begin to wear a little thin as the minutes turn into hours and the gameplay runs out of surprises. But even as I sit here, one eye constantly glancing toward the windowed game running in the background as I try to concentrate on the task at hand, I just want to stop what I’m doing and go play some more.

Concerning the differences between the freemium versions and Steam, I can’t make any comparisons from firsthand experience, but as I understand it the Steam version removes the limitations and unlocks all content that would otherwise need to be removed/unlocked through IAP. I suppose the decision on which version is right for you will come down to first trying out one of the free options. If you feel too restricted, it may be worth it to pay one lump sum up front and avoid getting sucked into the microtransaction trap.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!