A little over a month ago, I wrote a review for Patchwork, a fun two player game based around fitting together Tetris-like pieces into a quilt. I’ve had fun with this game for several months, but only recently did I get into the app version of the game, which was released in February. Now, I was initially wary of trying out this app. I mean, in a game with such tactile components, could the fun and challenge be translated into a digital format? Well, spoiler alert: I was wrong, and I’m sure glad I was.
The digital and tactile versions of Patchwork play the same – you and an opponent take turns adding patches to a quilt you are constructing. Each piece costs a certain amount of buttons, which serve as the currency and points of the game. Each piece also has a ‘time’ cost, moving you forward on the turn tracker a certain number of positions. This clever mechanic adds another element of strategy to the game. Sure, you can get that very cheap and very large patch, but it might mean that your opponent will take two or three turns in a row. Play continues until both players reach the end of the turn tracker, at which point the buttons are counted (along with some other factors) and the winner is determined.
The digital version does a good job of bringing in both new and veteran players. If you have never played the ‘regular’ version before, a well-made tutorial will walk you through each step. There are three options for play – online ranked, online casual, and pass and play. The online modes work asynchronously, in that you and your opponent don’t have to be logged in at the same time to play. Each player is given 24 hours to take a turn, so as long as you check in from time to time on the app, it should work.
I had difficulty finding opponents at first, but I am currently in the middle of a ranked game right now. While I appreciate the feature, I’m not sure that I’ll use it again after this game. It just takes so long to wait on your opponent that I’m not sure it’s worth it. So more than likely, the local play mode will be where you find the most fun. You can play against a human opponent using a pass and play model, or you can play against the AI, which is where the bulk of my time has been spent.
The interface of the game works very well. On your turn, the three pieces that you have to choose from are shown, with those that you can afford and will fit in your quilt being outlined. You can also scroll to see what other pieces are coming up. Once you select the piece you want, you drag it to your quilt, where you can manipulate it using a series of buttons to find how it will fit. Money and turn movement are handled automatically, so you just focus on how to maximize your the button production and the square coverage of your particular quilt. The game does a great job of letting you know what pieces are upcoming, so you can strategize to your heart’s desire.
Now normally, I find the digital versions of these games to be lacking something. Interaction between players is not as strong, and you lose that tactile part that can be so satisfying. However, there’s something different about Patchwork. It feels weird saying it, but… I think I might prefer the app! Every time I sit down to play, I end up playing several rounds in a row against the AI. Games with others still suffer from a lack of interaction, but to be honest, there’s not that much interaction in the original game, so it’s not all that different. Some of the parts of the board game, like the turn tracker, setting up the pieces, and moving buttons around from place to place, are taken care of by the app. You now get to put all of your attention on the main part of the game – the patches and your quilt.
To me, this greatly improves the gameplay experience. While online play isn’t quite there for me, I am not sure I had that desire anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal. On top of all that, the app is free (!!) if you download it through the Amazon Appstore, so even if you don’t like it, you haven’t lost anything. So I highly suggest that you grab the Patchwork app and give it a shot!
Verdict: Go get it!