Every game this month is from a Play Store recommendation, mostly puzzles! Turns out amongst the many match-3 and merge games, there’s a few that are trying to innovate…

The games are in descending order of “fun”, and might contain mild spoilers:

#1: Sorcery School

Sorcery School is a tripeaks solitaire RPG, with a surprisingly rewarding difficulty curve.


Gameplay starts off as the typical “use cards to deal damage”, but the complexity comes from new mechanics continually unlocking, even a few hours into the game. For example, collecting 4x Jacks gets me a shield boost, whilst other cards might unleash a little goblin that attaches to an enemy and deals damage until you draw a new card.

These complex, interlocking additions to what is a very simple card game mean taking each turn carefully is worth the effort. Instead of merely trying to clear the board of cards, you are combining different mechanics to optimise your attack and defence.

The “Combat” screenshot below shows a few examples of these interlocking mechanics. Even within this simple low level battle:

  1. A “rocket” card (the 7) has been played, dealing direct damage to the enemy in the centre.
  2. I am currently on a x9 combo, which triggers gems to spawn onto cards.
  3. 3 cards have gems attached (8, 4, 6), getting 8 of those allows use of a very powerful wand attack. Holding fire until 16 deals even more damage.
  4. 2 stacks of cards have been cleared (top middle, single card on the right), these will be repopulated when I draw a new card, and provide a small health boost.
  5. I’ve recently collected a Jack, so I have 1/4 needed for a defence boost (green icons near top).
  6. Every enemy has a unique mechanic (mushroom can enrage, worm in apple is 2-stage, rat can throw acorns), so must be prioritised.
  7. Each enemy has a different attack time, so I am prioritising the apple worm due to it being closer (2 turns away), and having an additional stage to kill.

To reiterate, this is a basic, regular stage. There are boss stages! There are multiple waves of enemies!

The appeal comes from the combination of unique enemy characteristics, many card mechanics, and different priorities interacting and even conflicting, e.g. Do you get the 8 gems for the wand attack, or prioritise clearing cards?

Outside of battle, there are “Artifacts” to upgrade (e.g. health), requiring drops from enemies and some coins. Every attack and card mechanic can also be upgraded using cards, leading to yet another strategy decision. Rewards are generous, with each battle giving loot, and chests unlocked every few battles.

All of this is framed in a pretty average “wizard school” story, which I completely skip every time. It’s not needed, and the gameplay absolutely stands on its own.


There is an energy system! Whilst it’s pretty generous (you can usually play for 30-40m, then come back 30-40m later with full energy), I did run out a couple of times. The quick recharge means this isn’t too much of an issue, and it also refills whenever you level up. Additionally, quest rewards and chests will sometimes overfill your energy, e.g. 160/100, which is a nice touch.

In addition to an energy system, there’s also the typical “booster packs” for items, cards, energy, coins, etc. I’m a few hours into the game and haven’t needed them whatsoever, nor would they have helped much. Later on there’s a risk that the grindiness could get high enough to encourage them, but there are no signs of this yet.

There are no adverts that I could see, forced or otherwise.


  • Enemy prioritisation (by tapping) is key. Typically, you want the enemy attacking next, but it often makes more sense to just accept a hit and work away at a stronger enemy in the background (especially if it has a powerful ability).
  • “Overkilling” an enemy provides extra cash, I often get an enemy as low as possible, then use a wand attack to get them to -200 or so.
  • Upgrade everything. I’ve never had less than 4-5k coins, so upgrading cards as soon as they’re available seems sensible.
  • Know how much your attacks do. There’s no point wasting a strong attack on a weak enemy if there’s a stronger enemy coming up a turn or so later, so try to just about kill an enemy (or massively overkill them).
  • There are some timed events (e.g. rat’s acorn, stun timers). When these happen, react, but don’t rush yourself. The marginal benefits aren’t worth throwing away the round.
  • Use the constantly attacking gremlin wisely. You should be saving your wild card for this opportunity, as it will let you get a whole new set of cards played, dealing hundreds more free damage.
  • Don’t trade items. The artifact shop owner offers you the ability to mutate items, but it is very expensive and the resource loss is not worth it. Similarly, the main shop sells items for high prices, only buy if absolutely necessary.
  • “Perfect” health at the end doesn’t mean you took no hits, it just means you have full health. As such, you can heal up after a hit and still get the bonus.
  • The artifact shop can “find” enemies for you, just tap the items. This is the best way to progress if you don’t have the requirements for a main quest.
  • There’s occasionally codes on the developer’s Instagram and Facebook that gives free in-game items. For example, FURUYU692 gave a few thousand coins.


Combat Equipment Artifacts

#2: King’s Landing

King’s Landing - Idle Arcade was not what I expected. It looked like one of those typical “waiting simulator” incremental games, and I was fully expecting grindy gameplay with constant adverts. It was far better than that!


King’s Landing is clearly early in development from an indie developer, yet has a satisfying core gameplay loop. Collect resources, process them, use them to unlock new areas, buildings, and automation.

There’s only a couple of hours of gameplay here, and there’s no offline progress. The almost entirely active gameplay will consist solely of walking between buildings that produce resources and areas than require them. New areas and content unlocks frequently, which stops the small number of game items (7-8 in total) becoming too tiring to farm.

Resources can be gathered by employees, and later on this is the only reasonable way to get the large quantities of items required. Essentially you’ll primarily be ferrying raw materials from the storage units to processing plants, whilst your employees gather the raw materials.

There’s an upgrade system providing a use for coins, but I’d have liked to see it expanded beyond basic “Stone storage stores more” or “Forge processes more at once”.

I tried finding out more about the developer, but was left a little confused. There’s plenty of games published, but they seem to be unrelated games, with completely different visual styles, descriptions, monetisation, etc. I wondered if “Creauctopus” is some sort of publisher..? Their website seems to be a solo developer / artist’s outdated portfolio, and the developer’s bio on linked sites supports this. An impressive range of talent if this really is all from one person!


There’s none! No adverts, no purchases!


  • Player speed doesn’t seem to have much impact, it doesn’t seem worth it.
  • Selling processed resources is far more profitable than raw.
  • Try and keep all processing centres (forge, sawmill, etc) busy at all times, since you’ll need a lot of these processed resources.
  • Make sure your houses (coin generators) are never full, or they’ll stop producing.
  • Move items in bulk. There’s no point moving a few stones, instead move as many at once as the processing plants can handle. You can then cycle through restocking, maximising efficiency.


Starting area Mining area Upgrades

#3: Tile Collector

Tile Collector is a single player version of Mahjong, requiring matching three tiles, and with the ability to “hold” tiles to uncover others. Unfortunately, it’s full of ads.


The gameplay here is pretty simple: match 3 tiles, clear the board. Sure, there are tiles to unlock (70), but they all function exactly the same with the only difference being the simple icon.

Some levels are big and easy, and just tapping sets of 3 as you see them is completely fine. Others are small and technical, and will require carefully picking up tiles to uncover matches.

It’s hard to write much about Tile Collector as… there really isn’t much here! Every level plays similarly, tiles are unlocked via a gacha-y mechanic earned through number of matches, and there’s no extra functionality. The screenshots below cover the entire game.

With all that being said, I could see myself putting a few hours into grinding through the levels (similar to Puzzlerama), if it wasn’t for the…


Constant adverts. Adverts at the bottom of the screen throughout, plus obnoxious 5-10 second adverts between every level. This means you’ll be spending around 10 seconds watching adverts per 60 seconds of gameplay, not even considering the constant on-screen presence.

These non-stop adverts are pretty distracting when trying to solve a supposedly minimalist puzzle game, and completely undermine the gameplay. To make it worse, there’s no ability to pay to remove ads.


  • Prioritise tiles blocking other tiles (obviously!), there’s no benefit to clearing tiles at the bottom.
  • Tiles unfortunately completely obscure other tiles. This makes it impossible to know if a tile is actually at the bottom or not.
  • There are no benefits to collecting a “rare” tile over a common one, all that matters is clearing the board.


Level start During level Collection