You Must Build A Boat in Review – Awesome Match 3 Rouge Like Action


This is a sequel to a game that I don’t recall the name of off hand, but I’m pretty sure I own it and have not actually played it.  After spending some time with You Must Build A Boat I realize I really missed out the first time around, even if the game were only half as good as this one.  The best I can describe the experience as is a side scrolling rogue like with real time match 3 battles and a boat building sim to boot.  The real time nature of the game frustrates me to no end at times, but the overall package is so polished that I instantly fall in love with it again.  Also, this is one of the rare games I’ve ever played that actually makes you feel good when you die by displaying “You Win” at the end of a run, even if you didn’t meet any of your goals.


As the title of the game suggests, the overriding goal of your travels is to build a boat.  You start out with basically a deck and a place to sleep, and as you progress through the game you’ll meet various characters that require their own rooms to be added to your ship.  Just so you don’t feel completely taken advantage of, however, each new resident will offer you some sort of service in return for your hospitality.  These include things like upgrading weapons, training captured creatures to work alongside of you and letting you sell back all the worthless junk you find in treasure chests.  It’s basically like having your own floating adventure game city always with you.

The dungeons themselves are a combination of a “window” to the dungeon at the top of the screen as well as a match 3 area below that.  Your character is constantly running towards the right of the screen, but any time a monster or treasure chest gets in the way you’ll have to stop and deal with it.  You get rid of chests by matching keys, and monsters can be dispatched by matching swords or staffs or by using spells or weapons that are revealed when matching seemingly innocent, empty crates.  There are also traps that will periodically show up that require specific object matches to get rid of.  What you need to keep in mind here is that if you aren’t running forward you will be pushed backwards, and if you end up getting pushed off the left side of the screen the run is over.


There is plenty of loot to be found along the way, either in the form of gold coins or junk that can be sold to get coins.  Occasionally you’ll be lucky enough to score some silver as well.  All of this can be used to upgrade your sword, staff and shield.  If you want to recruit monsters to fight for your cause, on the other hand, you’ll need to match plenty of the arms and brains that you find on the playing field.  Each dungeon has plenty of quests to complete, and your rewards for beating each one will vary from some gold to unlocking monsters you can recruit to finding rare and useful items.  There is no Game Center integration, but like the olden days you’ll get much satisfaction from actually completing the game.

Speaking of old school, I love the visuals in this game.  Granted the pixelization often makes it hard to tell what things are, but that’s part of the graphics’ charm.  Of course if you’ve played games back in the days of Atari or the Commodore 64 then these images should look right at home to you.  The sound effects are actually pretty decent and don’t come off like standard match 3 hybrid type sound bytes.  The music is enjoyable enough, reminding me of NES / SNES era tunes.


If you’re already a fan of match 3 / rouge like hybrids, there’s no reason you shouldn’t already be playing this game.  If you’ve never tried them or are burnt out on the concept, You Must Build A Boat is great way to get hooked (possibly for something other than the first time).  My inability to keep up with the action at times aside, there’s not a whole lot here not to like.


App Summary
Title: You Must Build A Boat Developer: EightyEight Games LTD
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1617 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 56.07MB
  • Plenty of action and places to explore
  • Lots of upgrades and monsters to recruit
  • Awesome pixel graphics
  • Decent audio elements
  • Real time combat can get frustrating
  • Multiple swipes sometimes required to move row or column
  • Can’t always discern what creatures are


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