I spend most of my time using my iPad for work, so relaxing with a game for me is typically done on the desktop. However, I’m aware a great many people commute via public transport and to that end mobile gaming is thriving. Well… that and teenagers who hide in their bedroom for long hours helping chickens hop across an endless series of highways or launching birds at pigs.
While the odd game of Hearthstone at the train platform or Crossy Road while on the bus might fill the void, have you considered playing something that might exercise your gray matter? There are plenty of find/make a word games on both the Apple and Android stores, although a lot of those you can still play in brain dead mode with little to no thought required. As much as I love classic titles like Book Worm, you can ultimately play on auto-pilot and still get a respectable score.
To that end the gentlemen at Savage Yeti Games have taken things to the next level with Patchword. Even in it’s endless ‘Zen’ mode with no timers or pressure, you’ll still be taxing your brain on how to solve the current board. Much like their physical board game ‘The Stars Align‘, the idea here is a game that is simple and easy to learn but difficult to master.
Okay, so what makes this word game so tricky you ask? Well, the board divides it’s tiles between two colours and you can only make a word using tiles all of the same colour. Once you’ve made a word those tiles flip to the other colour and are ready to be used again. The center tile begins as a ‘wild’ letter and can be used for either side, although once done it too becomes a colour and will flip back and forth as you use it. The object of the game is to have the entire board of the same colour.
Like I said, easy to learn and hard to master. In my time with the game I found that making a word isn’t the hard part, it’s making the right word so that I can flip back all of the tiles that makes the real challenge. At times I’ll be staring furiously at the board for several minutes before tapping the screen again.
I’ve spent most of my time in the Zen mode, which is essentially an endless mode with no timer or turn limit. The goal for me here is to simply clear boards and get the highest score I can. Making a particularly lengthy word is also gratifying.
If you are in need of an added challenge however, the game also has a Turns mode which will (as the name implies) limit the amount of turns available to you. More game modes will be arriving in the future.
The intention for multiplayer is to be more about competing for the best score and sharing them with the broader community. There are no plans for a more traditional multiplayer component, although I’m not entirely sure how you could do it anyway with a game like this. I’d likely get impatient waiting for my opponent to make a move, and that just takes me back to sitting on the train bored.
Visually the game looks great and does what it needs to do clearly and vibrantly with the patchwork motif working well. My only (small) gripe with the game is the music, which is a fairly short looping affair; hopefully the designers will look at adding a broader variety of tunes in later builds for some variance. For most of you on public transport you probably won’t hear it anyway and/or have your audio switched off.
The cool part is you can play Patchword completely free, provided you don’t mind the odd commercial, or if you really dig it the ad-free game can be bought for the price of a coffee.
In summary, an enjoyable diversion from an Australian development team that will actually require you to think and perhaps warm the brain up on the way to work.
Official Website – https://www.savageyetigames.com/patchword
Apple Store – https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/patchword/id1251276130
Android Store – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.SavageYeti.PatchWord&hl=en