Based on Uwe Rosenberg’s popular board game, Patchwork The Game is a competitive puzzler that has you trying to cover more of your hand stitched quilt with patches than your opponent.
With its attractive stitched art style, and appealingly straightforward concept, its sure to attract those looking for a new puzzle experience. However, elements of this competitive multiplayer game feel like they have struggled with the move from tabletop to tablet.
Stitch one, purl two (player)
Taking Tetris style blocks and stitching them together to cover a quilt is a brilliant idea for a puzzle game. Its description is simple and instantly appealing, while also providing and excuse for a great art style. These are all elements that Patchwork The Game capitalizes on, creating an entertaining and attractive, competitive-multiplayer puzzler.
The only issue is that learning all of Patchwork The Game’s systems proves rather daunting.
There are a total of three “boards” to keep track of, your own and opponents quilt, and then a more traditional game board that dictates the number of moves remaining.
You and your opponent take it in turns to pick from one of three, randomly selected shapes. You then position these on your quilt using the intuitive touch controls. Each one cost a number of buttons to purchase, and come with a movement cost. Thus, every patch you buy spends your bank of buttons and moves you around the board a number of spaces. Once both players reach the middle of the board a winner is calculated based on the amount of quilt covered and buttons remaining.
Patchy at times
It is the button element that confuses things. The process of starting to get buttons begins with you stitching patches - with buttons attached - to your quilt. Buttons are then earned by passing specific squares on the board. If you are really short then you also have the option to pass your go - this moves you one square past your opponent and nets you one button for each on your quilt, plus one for every square moved.
But, for too much of the game, your moves are dictated by a lack of buttons. Often the random selection of patches you have available to pick between leave you feeling cheated and rob the game of strategy. You might be desperate for a specific shape "L" and not be able to afford it, or not have any shapes with buttons on to improve your fortune.
This second element can quickly snowball, leaving the other player seemingly an insurmountable distance ahead. It is a dynamic that can work when playing a board game across a table with a friend you can laugh with, but playing an AI or strangers online feels infuriatingly unfair.
Quilters never win
Patchwork The Game has a lot of promise but it may miss it audience due to how its look and premise sit at odds with its complexity and random elements. If you are looking for a puzzle game to enjoy with a friend, it is certainly recommended.
It is also worth noting that - ironically - the game is already being patched. This could lessen a few of my complaints – such as the balance of the random patches – and could also smooth its handful of technical issues.