Sweeping generalisation alert. The pecking order in video games goes something like this – PC gamers look down on console gamers; console gamers look down on app gamers; and app gamers look down on social media gamers. One play of Triple Town however, an iOS and Android port of the Facebook phenomenon, and all notions of sneering superiority are quickly dispelled. It's just a great game, regardless of the platform it originated on.
How does it play?
Match three puzzler Bejewelled is the blueprint here. Line up the corresponding shapes on a grid, and something happens. The worm on the hook, the gateway drug to compulsive addiction and misspent nights, is that Triple Town has a pecking order of its own devising.
Line up three or more bits of grass on a sparsely populated grid, and it transforms into a single bush. Line up three bushes, and it transforms into a tree. Line up three trees, and it becomes a hut. This process continues ad nauseum, until the grid is transformed into a bustling settlement of buildings and people. The goal is to evolve the settlement as far as you can until there's no space left to grow.
But there's an additional complication, in the form of marauding cuddly bears that invade your settlement. They need to be dealt with, and with the minimum fuss possible, because they're taking up precious space on your grid. A shotgun isn't going to help here. You need to trap them on a square and turn them into tombstones, which can then be matched in threes and turned into a building.
The game is built on a freemium model, so it's free to download, but in-app purchases are there to tempt you in buying upgrades. Basic skill and luck are enough to progress, but if you're within touching distance of all-time high score, there's always a little power-up to give you that extra edge...
Why do we like it?
Fair warning, Triple Town will sink its claws into unwary players with immediate effect. There's a few niggling issues on the iOS version we tested; switching from portrait to landscape view can sometimes garble the HUD, but the core game remains intact and bug-free. There's no such thing as a quick five minute game, you'll be losing five hours at a "bear" minimum (sorry).
It's a fantastic evolution of the genre, and totally trumps any other match three title currently available. Granted, its cutsie wootsy demeanour and Facebook origins might be off-putting for some, but at its heart is an ingenious design that you'd be crazy to miss.