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Puzzle Forge II - Match Three in a Weapon Shop
Match the Ore
From the title alone we've established that Puzzle Forge II is a match three game, but even the game's title is enough of an explanation. You're doing puzzles in a forge, what more do you need to know?
Well, if you're still here, I'm guessing you might want to know a little more, so I'll get right to it. If you look up at the subtitle, you'll get your first and only hint at what you do in this game. You've guessed it, you'll be matching ore. To explain this properly though I'll need a little visual aid.
Breaking Down the Interface
There's a lot going on up there, but let's break it down.
On the bar up top from left to right we have: Your current score (mine is a measly 38959), the amount of gold you've earned so far (from selling the weapons that you make to customers), and then your life (three strikes and you're out!).
The first two don't really need much explanation, but the life system might. In Puzzle Forge II if you fail to craft someone what they want in time or outright refuse their request (which is for the best sometimes if they request something you don't think you can handle right now) you'll lose a heart. Once you've lost all of your hearts the game is over, but not really.
When you "die" in Puzzle Forge II all you really lose is your current record. The game is chopped up into days and seasons, where seasons bring different weather effects that can change how the board plays. You also lose what's currently sitting on your board, but that's all. Saved items, gold, and upgraded skills (to be explained later on) all remain so don't be afraid to lose every once in a while.
Now below that bar above we have three gentlemen, each of them wanting something different that's conveniently displayed in the little bubble beneath them, as well as the amount of turns they're willing to wait patiently. The man standing on the far left will take anything you can give him, so feel free to chuck anything his way.
Off to the left of your potential customers you have what's basically an ore shooter. Whenever you tap a square on the board below, you'll shoot the currently chosen ore into that space. Match three of them and they form a higher tier of ore. Bronze is currently the only ore I have in spades right now, but matching three of them makes one iron, and then matching three iron makes one silver, etc.
Then below that we finally have our playing board, or smithy as it were. Here's where you place everything you need to make sales.
You can see already that we have a lot going on. We've got a few gems on the board, some already finished weapons sitting around, and even a few weapon parts just splayed about the place. It's honestly looking a little messy, so thankfully I haven't run into any smithy inspectors yet.
You'll notice however below the board there are what look like wooden blocks. These are basically the building blocks you need to make a weapon. When you drop one of these empty molds next to two matching ore, they fill it and make a weapon piece. Do this two more times with any other weapon pieces in the combination you need and bam, you've got a weapon!
Then tucked away in the bottom right corner we have a treasure chest which is a quick way to go to the game's in-game shop where you can buy all sorts of items and powerups with in-game currency to keep your current game going longer.
Just to give you a look at it, here we have the in-game shop as well as your inventory. The shop's stock changes every day, so it's good to take a look at it before you start working on the day's orders.
There isn't an example of it today, but when an item is on sale the price is displayed in green instead of gold, so always make sure to wait for a sale if you're looking to buy in bulk!
Your inventory is separated into three different sections. What's currently selected in the screenshot would be ores, gems, and weapon molds. Next up are potions and scrolls, and then we have storage for weapons and armor that you don't want on the board but can't sell yet.
These won't be the only menus you'll be seeing in-game though, there are quite a few different screens to navigate through from the hub screen.
Here you can see all your options when you boot up the game. While the forge is where you'll be spending most of your time, you'll definitely want to take a look at your contracts as well as the Academy.
Earlier I mentioned being able to upgrade, and the Academy will let you do just that.
Spending Your Wisdom
Here's where you'll go to spend wisdom stones that you've earned from either leveling up, completing contracts, or purchasing with real money. Each upgrade is pretty self explanatory, but all of them are helpful and are a nice way of giving Puzzle Forge II an actual sense of progression.
Free to Play
I'm sure you've noticed by now but Puzzle Forge II definitely has ads down at the bottom, and they won't be your only instance of seeing them either, but that's to be expected with the free to play model.
If you want to get rid of the ads it'll cost you $2.99, but you'll also receive an extra thousand of in-game currency along with their removal. There are also plenty of instances where you could purchase in-game gold with real money, but I've never felt the need to in my time playing.
Puzzle Forge II is a great match three game on mobile and probably the one that's held my attention the longest. There have been many times where I've gotten lost in playing it for at least an hour before remembering I had something I was meant to be doing.
It's a free to play game, and $2.99 might be seen as steep to turn off the ads, but they honestly aren't that intrusive for a game that you'll spend a long time with. I've also never felt pressured by the game to buy gold or wisdom stones.
Because of that, I'd highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys match three games, and even those that don't. It's a great experience that gets harder as you go along, and also rewards invested time.
It's surely worth a download, and a permanent spot on my SD card.