Triple Town Review

Triple Town Review

Feb 2, 2012

There are some words I don’t like to throw around lightly, in case it devalues them. The example I’m thinking of is “addictive”. There are a lot of games that are fun, but the list of games that I physically can’t put down is not long. But some games really are so entrancing that they consume my thoughts even when I’m not playing them. And Triple Town is one of them.

The makers of Triple Town, Spry Fox, have done a brilliant job of combining three gaming aspects that are sure-fire draws: pattern-completion, building, and strategy. It’s called Triple Town because items on the game field must be matched in threes. Place three identical items in proximity of each other and they combine to make a new item of a higher class. Three swatches of grass become a bush. Three bushes become a tree. Three trees become a hut, and three huts become a cottage. I haven’t found out yet what three cottages might become because it is much harder than I expected to build up the item levels without filling the gamespace too quickly. Each game session ends when the gamespace is completely filled with items and there are no more moves to be made. And to make things more complicated there are opponents in the way -bears!- slowing down progress. The bears are adorable and when I saw them in the game logo I assumed that they’d be friendly. But once they are in play, they roam around the board and growl menacingly at the tiny villagers that dare poke their heads out of the huts. Luckily the bears can be of some use. Trap a bear and it becomes a gravestone. Three gravestones become a church, three churches become a cathedral, and three cathedrals become treasure.

There are some hitches though. Items appear for placement in a seemingly random order (think Tetris pieces), and can be difficult to plan around. As well, items can only be placed so long as there some in queue. Play too fast and the queue empties, halting the game. The queue can refill over time, or additional items/turns can be purchased with the in-game coins. This is still maddening as the game really does cast a hypnotic spell that is painful to have interrupted.

It’s a very simple concept but beautifully executed. Pattern-completion is inherently appealing to the human psyche, and the little villages are a joy to create and behold. As items are placed the points rack up and the quest to achieve higher points ranking never ends. I’ve made it to the second level of points only a few times, and I really want to get to level three. Every time I’m playing and have to stop (to eat, sleep, work) I’m sad. And I’ve fallen asleep more than once dreaming about placing some trees in the perfect place.

There is a pretty huge problem with Triple Town though, and it seems to be new as of the last update. The game freezes a lot and badly. Nearly every single time I’ve opened it to play it has frozen irreparably. Twice it has spontaneously re-started my phone completely. It’s a pretty serious problem that affects more than just my enjoyment of the game.

Triple Town Review Rundown

7
Graphics/Sounds - For such a simple layout the game still packs in a fair bit of nuance. The tiny villagers have even tinier faces, and the bears are equal parts cute and creepy. The sounds are kind of superfluous though. I don't bother playing with them on.
8
Controls - It's a fairly small playing field but it always knows what I want it to do, so it's pretty finely tuned.
7
Gameplay - Have I mentioned that it's addictive? It does take a hit though because of the frequent interruptions, both manufactured and accidental.
10
Replay Value - I don't think I can every stop playing this game until I have achieved the maximum amount of points possible.
8
Overall - This game is definitely a winner, the makers just need to fix those major bug issues to have a star on their hands.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Angelina Purpura
Angelina is an avid tech fan, amateur photographer, visual artist, foodie, and movie aficionado. She also like cats, rainbows and zombies (but not zombie cats, that would be sad). Tweet her feedback at @Anzi.
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  • I’ve definitely encountered the freeze issue on my Incredible.  It’s the only app that has ever frozen on me to the point that I need to remove the battery.  It seems to be related to change of orientation, but I don’t know.

  • Dan

    Great review.  Totally agree with everything including the freezing which is a real drawback to this game.  I’ve never had an app that forces me to remove the battery until this one.