Triple Town

Posted January 8, 2013

I recently saw Triple Town on Steam for a few bucks and decided to pick it up. With no forehand knowledge, I settled in and had an a fun time for awhile. Then I noticed that it wasn’t really going anywhere, got boring, and asked some friends what they thought of it. At this point I was told it was free to play originally and it all made sense.

Triple Town is an excellent concept, merging match three mechanics with town building aesthetics. The reason I got bored wasn’t a flawed concept but the execution that comes from the free to play model. The model which requires an endless game with no real purpose or depth. Just ever escalating positive feedback loops and the basest of challenge. It’s a time-waster, like a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.

Don’t take that as a strict negative. There are many instances when time must be wasted. Short commutes, waiting in a laundromat, decompressing after a long days work, are all valid times to space out and do something simple for 10 minutes. My issue is that doesn’t hold up when sitting down for the sole purpose of playing something.

I’m the type to game in large chunks. I’ve got writing, podcasts, checking twitter/email and other things to fill those down times. As a game developer, I should be playing as large a variety as humanly possible to learn from and grow. If a game ceases to be fulfilling in ways I can express outside the game, then from my perspective it’s a waste of time and I stop playing.

Triple Town is sad because I see an experience that could be worth more of my time. It’s valuable for giving me the insight of why free to play games don’t deserve or get much of it. I’ll see the novel idea, say “That’s cool.” and then bail for something that’ll make me feel, think or become engrossed in the mechanics.

Free to play is Solitaire and I’d rather play poker.