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Triple Town for iPhone and iPad

A deceptive little beast of a puzzler, Triple Town lures you close and sinks its teeth in before demanding you feed it more of your hard-earned cash. This clever hybrid of match-three puzzles and settlement planning gameplay from Spry Fox is insidiously addictive, but poorly conceived micro-transactions soon suck all the joy out of the experience.

Your quest to develop the biggest town possible starts with plunking down shrubs, trees, roaming bears, and other randomized objects into open squares on the land grid. Matching three of the same resource crafts a more valuable object and frees up crucial space on the playing field. Combining three trees produces a house, for example, earning your more points toward your town construction goal.

A lot of strategy comes into play in planning your expansions to keep the lot from locking up, and the gameplay is a blast once you build into a steady rhythm. Unfortunately, this is right about when everything grinds to a halt and you’re forced to spend an extra $4 to unlock more turns and additional content to keep playing. You can sit and wait for your turn quota to slowly regenerate, but by that point the game’s luster fades away.

Nathan Meunier is a freelance writer based in southern Vermont.

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