I played the original “Mansion Makeover” on my laptop years ago (it was put out in 2009, and I’m staring at that and thinking, damn, that’s nearly a decade ago now. HOW CAN THAT BE ALMOST A DECADE AGO!?!)
Gardenscapes is a story-based Match-3 game. It has some incredibly challenging levels, and there’s a fair bit of luck versus strategy that needs to take place, especially when the gophers and honey get involved. << Thankfully, as of level 480, I haven’t encountered both obstacles in a level at once.
The simple overall objective is to restore the garden that your long-lost uncle left you (along with the Mansion, and the aid of the life-long friend and butler, Austin) in his will. You’re restoring the outside now, as compared to the first game of this series, which focused on interior parts.
It’s a well organised, wonderful time-spender in my books. I’m less keen on the timer levels, as I don’t like feeling anxious to play – I prefer the endless time ones, even if it is limited moves.
Your goals are simple: Collect a star for each level you complete.
Each star goes towards a task you can complete in the garden – some things are only valued at one star, while others are 4 stars, or even multiple sets of a specific amount.
There are also special updates that you can have added to your device that give you holiday/festive stories and awesomely fun new characters to interact with, all with their own special list of complete-able Match-3 mini games.
The current one – which is on for another 5 or so days is the Easter update, and there are 4 parts to the story, each comprised of multiple parts. Once you complete a section of that holiday storyline, you are rewarded with infinite lives for a set period of time.
You start with 5 lives, and they take just over 20 minutes each to refill, so you can technically play several times a day. If you’re like me, I’m hanging out in various locations before doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, etc. and I need things to distract me. Gardenscapes is definitely one I love to do just that.
Some helpful hints:
Try to do the level in as few moves as possible. You receive coins for each level completed, so try to save those as well. You’ll need them when you get into the higher levels.
There’s a daily spin that happens, and you’ll want to save those rewarded power-ups and goodies as well.
Try to do a tougher level as many times as you can without aid of power-ups until you’re frustrated. Sometimes, it’s a tricky level, and sometimes it’s just the pieces you have to work with. I generally go by the rule if I have a power-up available, I will exhaust one whole set of lives (meaning I’ll play through the game until all 5 lives are expended) and then the next time into the game, I try once more, if it doesn’t work on the 6th try, I then use the power-up. Sometimes however, you just KNOW it’s going to be a tough one (especially when honey and timers are mashed together!), and at that point, I’d say if you don’t succeed within a few tries, definitely use a power-up.
There are 4 types of bomb like structures and one special disc one:
the firecracker – which is made from connecting 4 similar pieces in a line; this detonates in a + pattern only;
the bomb (blue with a yellow band around the middle) – which does a 3×3 radius;
the nitro sticks (brown, white, with a lit fuse) – this one does a significantly larger area (I believe it is a 6×6 radius, but it could be even larger – I’ve never actually counted before);
the tnt barrel (brown with TNT written on it) – this one does the big baddaboom. Leeloo would be impressed with it, let’s just say that much. I think this one does a 9×9 block, and it is a significantly awesome chunk to watch get removed from the play area.
Each of these “feed” the disc metre. Each time you use multiple blow-ups together, you double, triple, or quadruple your power-up metre.
The best one in my opinion. This disc is so pretty. It’s a happy ray of sunshine to hit your board, and it will remove one whole colour (not bombs, but it will remove all acorns if you choose to zap them instead of a colour) from your play area. Now, if you are so lucky as to get TWO rainbow discs together, side-by-side or on top of/below the other, USE THEM TOGETHER. It wipes the board in one fell swoop. IT. IS. AWESOME.
Things to try to avoid:
GOPHERS. They don’t show up until I think level 300 or so, but those nasty lil blighters will steal your intended objective pieces (be it water drops or acorns or purple flowers or anything else they can get their greedy lil swiper paws on!). Try not to touch any of the pieces around them (that can touch them directly) – power bombs will disorient them for 1-3 rounds, so if you have to, hit them with a firecracker and then do your move of the pieces nearby.
HONEY. I’m just going to make a face that is somewhere between UGH and annoyance. We hates the honey levels!!!!! I prefer the rocks to the honey! Matching next to it will make it disappear, but sometimes, like in the holiday levels and higher levels, you’re stuck having to deal with the honey because of the honey or the honey pots being actual objectives. *sadness*
Those are the two biggies to avoid.
Here, come play!
iTunes (yes, so you can play it on any Apple device, including your laptop or computer!) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gardenscapes-new-acres/id1105855019?mt=8
Google Play Store:
https://www.playrix.com/gardenscapes/ (You can purchase the full version for your computer for $13.95 and I likely will at some point, as it has a ton of extra content that the mobile apps don’t have.
9.5/10. I really wish I had the option to “abort the current round”, especially when I know it’s going to fail.
Gardenscapes is an interesting concept to the Match-3 genre. You’re not just simply filling time (like crushing on candy games without any objectives). You get to see interesting plots develop, there are adorable creatures and characters that you will undoubtedly love as well, and you have options to not only create a beautifully vibrant restored garden, but you can change up the options even after you have decided on a particular type of stone for the paths or hedge topiary shapes.
I have so much left to uncover, as I am less than half-way through the game and I’m close to level 500 on my phone. I’m less than 200 on my tablet, but then again, I rarely ever play on there.