Old Clockmaker’s Riddle HD – iPad
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: DAVA INC
Release Date: Jan 24, 2013
Reviewed by Mark Smith
Review Score: 4 of 5
It’s been a while since I’ve played a classic Match Three puzzle game, and it’s been even longer since I played one with any type of purpose or story beyond the simple task of matching three or more panels in a cascading grid of tiles. Old Clockmaker’s Riddle HD does just that in one of the more surprising releases from G5 Entertainment – the folks who normally bring us all those HOA games. The setup is whimsically charming as you find yourself in an old town whose clocktower has started running backwards, sending the village into utter disrepair. It’s your job to restore the town to its former glory by solving more than 50 puzzles as you rebuild the town one building at a time.
As you click off on each available building on the village map you’ll trigger a Match Three puzzle that consists of multicolored gems and jewels. Click on any two adjoining tiles to swap their position to create a sequence of three or more matching tiles. Those tiles will then be removed and new ones will drop down from the top to fill in the space, often creating elaborate and unforeseen cascades of matches. The goal of each puzzle board is to obtain the required amount of “clock hands”. These are icons that are buried in some, but not all, of the jewels, adding a bid of strategy in your color-matching process.
Depending on whether you have chosen Timed or Relaxed mode will tweak the intensity of the game, but only slightly. Even when playing in Timed mode I never felt the pressure of the clock, and I never lost a board because of expired time. As you get further into the game new obstacle tiles will start to invade the grid and you’ll need to rely on a dozen various upgrades and five magic tools to complete the levels.
One thing I particularly enjoyed where the special challenge levels that interlace with the main game puzzles. These challenges require you to solve specially laid out puzzle boards in a limited number of moves. From what I can tell there is usually only one (maybe two) ways to solve each of these and it will likely take you several attempts before you stumble upon the proper sequence of moves to complete the puzzle. These were some of the most rewarding moments of the game for me; especially when I did a board without succumbing to the hint button down in the corner.
The game looks great with colorful graphics in the puzzles and a charming art style for the village map and all the encounters between rounds when you go shopping or learn more about the town in a narrative cutscene. It may seem extraneous to have such an elaborate backstory for a simple Match Three game, but that just makes Old Clockmaker’s Riddle HD shine that much brighter. The $7 unlock price seems a bit steep for a puzzle game that should cost no more than $4, so you may want to wait for a sale or price drop, otherwise this is a great diversion for those looking for a moderately challenging game best played in small doses.