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Game: Concrete Jungle
Genre: Indie, Strategy, Puzzle, Card Game, City Builder
Developer: Cole Powered Games
Publisher: Cole Powered games
Release Date: Sept 23, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating: 9/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Replay Value: 9/10
[The developer has kindly provided a key in exchange for an honest review]
Concrete Jungle is a very simple, yet very difficult puzzle/card game by Cole Powered Games.
Unlike free builders where you can more or less place things wherever you want so long as you keep everyone happy; Concrete Jungle leans more into puzzle aspects than city building. It brings the level of difficulty up by adding to the mix a deck of cards; the cards feature buildings, each with pros and cons.You can only place buildings dealt from your deck, and you have a limited space to place them in - think of it as a deck and a board. Meanwhile, you must add up to a certain amount of points to ‘clear’ the first area of the board (called a column) so you can continue on building to the finish line. It might not make much sense explained like this, but once you look at the screenshots, you’ll surely understand better.
The game is very addictive. It offers a campaign mode, where you more or less follow a small story while you play through each stage with various different goals; and it also offers a “custom game” mode, the custom mode allows you to play solo (customizing how many lines or columns you want to make to the finish line as well as a few other things), play versus (local co-op or online), a luck-based version of solo (in which you have no deck, but random buildings to place on the board), and the ability to load a previous save file.
I found that it was easy to pick up and leave at any given time - maybe not so much if you’re doing latter campaign stages, but if you play custom solo you can make quick games, and play in short little bursts or for longer periods of time according to your mood, so I think this game would be apt for casual gamers as well as those that like to play for hours on end. Unlike other games, where normally I get tired of trying to re-do a failed stages over and over, I didn’t have that reaction with Concrete Jungle. The modes offered a slight level of randomization when repeating a stage (some things were fixed, others weren’t), so that it didn’t really feel like a repeat each time.
The versus sessions can get a little ‘intense’ when both players are of a similar skill level, making for entertaining matches. Yet, I found the (forced) versus matches on the campaign mode a lot less fun to play through than the solo campaigns.
Whether you play solo or versus you gain exp and level up, thus unlocking new cards to play in your deck.
The art of the game is very appealing, the soundeffects and music are pleasant and relaxing, and the voice acting surprisingly good. The puzzle aspect got increasingly difficult as the stages advanced and more game options were given to me: such as getting different cards or skills once I reached a certain amount of points, or when target rises if you use too much of another type of points, and so on... You have “lives”, too, which help you along the way if you can’t clear a column.
The mix of city building (although it’s arguably more of a puzzle than a city builder) and cards was very well executed and I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by Concrete Jungle.
I definitely recommend this game if you like puzzles, card games, or strategy type games, but it’s probably not for hardcore city builders.