Ever wonder what R2-D2 was doing during his downtime between Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It’s possible he was playing Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, the match-3 game set in a galaxy far, far away and starring some of the more prominent robots of the most popular sci-fi franchise ever.

Foremost among those is BB-8, the lovable rolling wonder from The Force Awakens. To restore all of his memories, you’ve got to prove your match-3 skills by finding similar sets of circuits and dragging them together.

Puzzle Droids is one of those games with simple goals and controls that gets more complicated as you progress through it. To that end, we’ve compiled our own Star Wars: Puzzle Droids tips, cheats and strategies to give you a leg up on helping the bots. R2-D2 would approve, we think.

Know Your Goals

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

It’s always a good idea to go into a match-3 game knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. In Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, every move counts, as you’re attempting to complete one or more goals within a specified number of moves.

In early levels, the goals will primarily be matching and collecting a certain number of a certain color of circuit. A little later, you’ll also be introduced to types of spaces on the board that you need to destroy — specifically rocks and ropes, both of which can be destroyed by making matches in adjacent squares.

The game will also throw combinations of goals at you that you have to meet at the same time. For instance, you might have to break eight ropes and collect 30 green circuits. Be sure to keep both victory conditions in mind with every move you make, as only satisfying both of them will mean that you complete the level.

Bonus tip: Sometimes you’ll need to make more than one match next to a rope or rock square. Crossed ropes means it’s a double square that will need two matches to clear, while rocks can have two levels plus sand on top of them that needs to be cleared away first. Take that into account when you plan your matches.

Oh, the Special Matches You’ll Make

Matching three of the same circuit is great and all, but it’s also basic, as the kids like to say. Simple matches aren’t going to be enough to meet the goals of most stages, plain and … well, simple.

Fortunately, Star Wars: Puzzle Droids gives you multiple tools to make more complex matches and give you the ability to clear out more than just three symbols at a time. Let’s take a look at them.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

  • Power Surge: The Power Surge is created by matching four like circuits in a straight line. You can then use the Power Surge in another match to clear out an entire row (if you swipe it left or right) or column (if you swipe it up or down).

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

  • Electroshock: Matching five circuits in a ‘T’ or ‘L’ shape yields an Electroshock. Sliding the Electroshock into a normal match then clears out not only those three symbols but also all eight circuits around it. You can check the math, but trust us, there are eight squares around a three-square match.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

  • Magnet: Perhaps the most helpful of all special symbols is the Magnet, which you create by matching four like circuits in a 2×2 square. Using a magnet in a match automatically clears a circuit or blocker (rock or rope) that gets you a step closer to your goals, though it does so at random.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

  • EMP: Matching five circuits in a straight line grants you an EMP special. This has the most raw power of all the specials, as it clears all circuits of the same color when used in a match. Obviously, creating and using an EMP of the color you need for a goal can be very beneficial.

Bonus tip: Got two special circuits next to each other? Simply swap them for each other and you’ll see a cool and extended effect vs. using them separately, and you don’t even need to make matches with them to do it. Just swap and enjoy reaping the benefits.

Playing With Power (Ups)

As in many match-3 games, Star Wars: Puzzle Droids gives you some extra assistance to deal with particularly troublesome board layouts in the form of power ups. You’ll be introduced to them gradually as you play through the game, and you’ll see your current amount of each power up in the row of icons at the bottom of the screen.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

The first two power ups you’ll encounter are:

  • Blaster: Tap on any tile of the board to clear it. Note that for two-stage rocks and ropes, the Blaster will only get rid of one of those stages and thus might not actually remove it from the board.
  • BB-8’s Torch: Draw a line of 5 adjacent tiles to clear them. This is a pretty nifty aid and can really help you out of some jams.

Two more power ups will become available later on:

  • Buzzsaw: Tap on a circuit to clear the entire row and column. This is like a Power Surge that works both vertically and horizontally.
  • Ion Blaster: Tap on a circuit and all circuits of that color will be cleared. The king of power ups.

Run out of a specific power up? You can buy more with Gems, the game’s premium currency. Just tap on the power up icon and you’ll see options for purchasing more.

Take Advantage of the Local Wildlife

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

Everyone loves the wide array of indigenous creatures on the planets of the Star Wars galaxy, but in Puzzle Droids, they can actually help you succeed. When there are helpful animals or creatures around, you’ll see them on the perimeter of the board with little boxes that tell you how many of a particular type of circuit you’ll need to match to activate them.

As soon as you reach the required number of circuits, the life form in question will immediately spring into action, clearing out squares for you or activating some other kind of positive effect. Note that some creatures can be reused over and over while others will simply do their thing a single time and then depart.

Bots on a Mission

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids

If you tap the glowing disc icon that is high on the right-hand side of the main menu screen, you’ll call up a list of the missions you currently have active. Missions help you unlock characters, beginning with Rey, one of the heroes of The Force Awakens (though you probably didn’t need us to tell you that).

Not only do missions help you unlock characters, they also enable you to level up the ones you’ve already acquired. Every time you level up a character, you’ll receive rewards that can include Gems, power ups and more energy to play more levels.

To find out which characters you’ve unlocked, tap on the icon in the bottom-right corner that looks like silhouettes of C-3PO and R2-D2. That will take you to the ‘Collections’ screen, where you’ll see exactly how many mission points you need to unlock the next reward from any given character.

Are we missing out on any great Star Wars: Puzzle Droids tips or strategies? Let us know in the comments section so we can all do our part to assist the bots together.