Woodville Chronicles is a decent match-3 puzzler, but won’t offer anything you haven’t seen before.
Technically speaking, Woodville Chronicles doesn’t really do that much wrong. Presented with match-3 puzzles to complete, the resulting cash awarded can then be used to build a small village into a bustling environment. The problem is that there are plenty of other games exactly like Woodville Chronicles that do a far better job of it. Being able to switch between game types on the fly is an interesting feature, but outside of this you’d be hard-pushed to find any real uniqueness in the Woodville world.
Match-3 fanatics will know what to expect here – a board of brightly coloured symbols is randomly arranged, and the idea is to match up like-colours to break every stone tile. The game can be played either with a time limit, or at a more relaxed pace.
Matching tiles can be done in three different ways, depending on the currently selected mode. Swap mode is your classic Bejeweled 3-in-a-row style of play, while Chain mode sees you clicking and dragging to group together multiple symbols of the same colour. Group mode is similar to Chain, except that you can simply click on a colour and all the connecting blocks will go pop.
In a great twist, you’re able to switch between the different modes at any time via buttons at the bottom of the grid. Every time you change mode the grid is jumbled up, meaning when you get stuck, it’s easy to switch and continue play rather than feeling frustrated. The board can also be rotated at any point, creating even more opportunities for matches.
Five special powers are available for mixing the game up, granting you the ability to clear whole rows and remove every colour of your choosing. Again, it all works well to keep the game flowing smoothly. Once you’ve completed a level, you’re then given the option to play a quick bonus game that involves moving a key through the grid and into a lock, adding a whole new element to the board.
Finally, once the match-3 game is over, your collected cash can then be used to purchase buildings for your village. Then it’s back into another match-3 puzzle to earn some more moolah and keep your villagers happy.
It’s all perfectly playable, but by no means the best of its kind. The recent Heroes of Kalevala, for example, did a far better job of village construction, offering multiple buildings at the same time and buzzing with far more personality. It also put forward a storyline to couple everything together, whereas Woodville Chronicles features no such tale.
Building up your village also takes far too long in Woodville Chronicles. You’ll need to play around fifteen match-3 puzzles before you can even unlock the first three buildings, and this slow growth really sucks the life out of what could potentially have been an intriguing expansion to watch.
If you adore your match-3 games, you may well enjoy what Woodville Chronicles has to offer. However, we’d suggest downloading the demo first, as the available content will not be to everyone’s tastes.