MSRP: $4.99 Steam / $2.99 mobile
Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
I’m fairly sure the reason that there’s so many match-3 games out there is simple: they don’t have to be all that amazing to keep us matching. You Must Build A Boat is the “sequel” to 10,000,000, in that it has similar mechanics and art style, but if the almost non-existent story lines are connected, I don’t see it.
This time, instead of trying to make money for the sake of making money, you’re trying to build a bigger and bigger boat. However, let’s be honest – if you’re playing this game, you’re not all that interested in boat construction. You’re interested in beating up monsters and collecting treasure by frantically swapping tiles around on a board. If you are, by chance, interested in boat construction, there are probably far better games out there to play.
If you’ve played the first game, the tiles should look mostly familiar. You’ve got swords, wands, shields and keys. The first two damage the monsters that you come across when matched. Shields offer you temporary protection, and keys are used to unlock chests. The new tiles are thoughts, strength and crates, and let me tell you, I hated the crates at first because I had trouble seeing them as matchable tiles – I was quite a ways into the game before I stopped thinking of them as void spaces. Strength and thoughts are collected resources, much like stone and wood in the first game, and can be traded in to recruit captured creatures to your cause, giving you permanent bonuses, once the requisite NPC is unlocked.
Each stop along the way offers several quests, which all must be completed before moving on. Sometimes, this makes the game pretty tedious as there’s definitely quite a bit of random chance involved in being able to complete some of these quests. Completed quests can reward important items, captured monsters, NPCs for your boat, or other treasures. Instead of unlocking rooms with resources, you complete quests for NPCs that will allow you to do things like upgrade your weapons and shields, sell junk, and buy artifacts.
Which is to say that there’s a lot of fluff around what is, at its core, a pretty hectic but satisfying match 3 game. Personally, although I’m goal-motivated in general, I could take or leave the fluff. I’ve already dropped a few hours into You Must Build A Boat, and I plan to finish it, but I doubt that I’ll be replaying it like I did with 10,000,000. There’s just too much going on for my taste.
Still, the $4.99 price tag is perfectly reasonable for a game that will run at least 6 hours if you’re really lucky, and closer to 10 if you’re not so lucky. If you like your match-3 games to have a more going on than just tiles for days, this should satisfy, but I can find no compelling reason to pick it up over similar titles like its predecessor or Tomb of Tyrants.