Triple Town: A unique mashup of different puzzlers

Triple Town is an addictive puzzler that combines elements from Tetris, Bejeweled, and all of those Zynga games where the objective is to build stuff.

With each turn in Triple Town, you are given an object -- grass, a bush, a tree -- to place onto your 6x6 playing board for use as a building block. Place three of the same object next to each other, and they'll combine to form a single, more valuable object. Three patches of grass make a bush, three bushes make a tree, three trees make a house, and so on. Your goal is to build the most advanced town possible before all the slots on your board fill up.

The difficulty of Triple Town lies in planning ahead, so that your advanced structures end up next to one another. Build them too far apart, and you'll end up with a board full of grass and bushes, which certainly won't net you any major points. Luckily, Triple Town also occasionally serves up bonus items like a robot and crystal to help you out. The robot can remove any single item from your board, freeing up space for a better object. And the crystal is basically a wild card that can combine two or more of any other object. As you advance through your game, you'll realize that these bonus items are valuable and should be used strategically.

As with any good puzzle game, Triple Town also throws a nice curveball. At times, you are forced to drop bears into your town, which can be annoyingly difficult to overcome, as they hop around your board blocking your slots. Your only defense is to turn a bear into a gravestone by trapping it. You can also earn big points by combining three gravestones into a church, or even three churches into a cathedral.

One thing I noticed about Triple Town is that it didn't give me a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each game. There are no unlockable levels, new items to earn, or new challenges to meet. Once you finish a game, you simply start over again. Perhaps in newer versions, the game's developers will include these incentives, which would certainly add a new level of addictiveness to the game.

Triple Town is free to download from Google Play, but it does limit you on the number of moves you can make in a single day. If you're willing, though, you can buy unlimited turns for $3.99 through in-app payment. If you're in a bind, you can also buy objects to complete any triplets during your game. For instance, the store sells trees, crystals, and even robots. In fact, using money to buy premium objects is probably your best bet at earning a competitive score on the worldwide leaderboard. But even without the use of real money, Triple Town is still fun, addicting, and challenging enough to keep you occupied for hours on end.

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