Whether you file this one under “weird news” or “shockingly late to the party,” I find myself positively stumped by Square Enix’s latest release. Farms & Castles has soft-launched in select regions on both Google Play and the App Store, and is a fairly clear case of one developer borrowing liberally from another’s winning formula.
But unlike most games that could be described as such, it would be hard to call Farms & Castles a “fast-follow” release — the game it draws inspiration from is SpryFox’s nearly four-year-old Triple Town.
Like Triple Town, Farms & Castles has players placing rocks and trees on a 6×6 grid in an attempt to position three like-objects together. When this happens, these objects merge and evolve into a new item. Match three of those new items and you’ll evolve again (and so on). The only major differences we’ve noticed so far are the inclusion of a two-currency system (powered by the farms and castles you’ll build), and a distinct lack of bears or any other real threat — at least as far as we’ve seen up to this point.
If you were to ask me to create a shortlist of mobile publishers that have blown me out of the water this year, Square Enix would be near the top. Maybe that’s why I was so surprised to see such a standard mobile industry move come from a publisher whose plans thus far have been anything but the norm. Their casual studio Hapti.co (Smoothie Swipe) is responsible for this one, which makes sense — but even still, drawing influence from the now four-year-old Triple Town seems like a strangely generic choice to make.
Farms & Castles isn’t a bad Triple Town copycat by any stretch, but there’s no denying what this is. If you want to give Square Enix your mobile attention, we’d have a hard time recommending this over recent gems like Hitman Sniper, Heavenstrike Rivals and Chaos Rings III.
And if you’d rather fill that SpryFox-shaped hole in your heart? There’s always Alphabear.