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Best iPhone games: Triple Town

CVG hand-picks the greatest mobile games available to download right now

Mobile games are fun, simple and accessible, but that doesn't mean they are lightweight or insignificant. They have the ability to bend time and make commutes bearable; they transform idle moments into thrilling distractions. In a new series, CVG celebrates the most impressive examples of this exciting new wave of games.

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The Best iPhone games: Triple Town

Also available on:
Android

Three bears make a church. Three bushes make a tree. Three houses make a mansion. The pursuit of perfection in Triple Town is compelling, compulsive and captivating to the power to three.

Developer Spry Fox has performed an act of alchemy with its trademark hit. We've already espoused the charms of combining old genres to produce something new in mobile gaming: Bad Hotel was both tower defence and music generator, while Bitless was free-runner spliced with platformer. Triple Town is match three meets town-builder, but it exceeds either genre's ability to keep players not just interested, but feverishly returning for more.

On Triple Town's 6x6 grid, placing three tufts of grass beside each other turns them into a single bush. Combine three bushes, and you get a tree. Three trees make a little hut, and so on right up the property ladder to grand cathedrals and castles. Each upgrade pushes the value of your town upwards, but progress is hindered by the placement of Bears, who leap about the grid blocking moves. Trapping a trio of them in a line makes a church, but Bears of the ninja variety can't be stopped this way, disturbing your progress from town builder to castle-dwelling landed gentry.

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It's a freemium game, but its developer SpryFox needn't be hunted with pitchforks for seeking payment. The amount of free play time is generous, and by the time you are asked to unlock infinite turns for £2.49, Triple Town has worked its magic. Most players won't hesitate to hand over such a piffling amount, though some might prefer to wait a few hours for their turns to 'recharge'.

With judicious, patient play, Triple Town can be played indefinitely for free, as coins are earned through your scores as well as being available in the game's shop. Giving away such a large chunk of free entertainment shows a great deal of confidence from developer Spry Fox, a trait which might stem from this game's successful past life on Facebook and Google+. On mobile, the Triple Town formula is even more dangerous. It sits there in your pocket, waiting to pounce upon spare moments with its time-devouring mix of puzzling and strategic thinking.

The better you get at Triple Town, the greater the pay-offs become. Castles and cathedrals should be placed as near to each other as possible to be combined into one ultra-high value space, clearing the grid for more carefully planned town building. A fortunately-timed crystal - the equivalent of a blank tile in Scrabble - can be any session's trump card, combining together your biggest properties in one lucrative move.

Triple Town's humble presentation masks the deep, complex strategies required to acquire higher and higher scores. It's a perpetual learning process, and one which might just swallow you whole. Three times over.

Triple Town is free-to-play. Download it through iTunes here or on Android here.

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