I regret to inform you all that this is my last review, since after playing Wizard Hat Games' match-3 strategic puzzle game City Wizard, I feel I am now fully qualified as a city planner and my talents would be best used as such. How hard can it be, right? You just plop down flowers everywhere and nature does the rest. The only thing you actually have to worry about are zombies. See, each level of City Wizard is a hex-board, and it's your job to place items on each tile that will combine into something new when you have three or more of a kind adjacent to one another. Three flowers become a bush, for example, three bushes a tree, and three trees a village... ssssssssssomehow? Matches will always converge on the last tile you placed to create the new item, so plan accordingly. Zombies will move around the board blocking tiles, and the only way to kill them is to block them in so they can't move anywhere. You've also got rocks that can't be combined and must be removed with a lightning strike, and diamonds that, when placed, act as a Joker card of sorts and will turn into whatever tile is closest to them. (If more than one type of tile is touching them, you can manually select the one you want.) You can place one item in the storage container in the top left corner of the screen for later use. Reach the minimum high score before your board fills up and becomes unusable to complete the level and unlock the next. Congratulations! You're now ready for your high-paying job as a city governmental official. If anyone gives you any trouble about it, you can tell them a strange woman on the internet gave you her thumbs up.
City Wizard is one of those simple little ideas that make for a surprisingly clever game, though the limited number of tile types may mean some players find it too simple. The game is still challenging with what it has, exacerbated by the fact that you can't "see into the future" Tetris-style to see what your next tile will be, encouraging conservative play on the typically tiny maps. It makes you wish for an undo button, even one with limited uses, since bricking yourself into an unwinnable situation is intensely frustrating given how long it can take to win some levels. Likewise, the distribution of tile types can feel unbalanced, with one run on a level throwing multiple lightning bolts in a row at you early on, while a replay could see nary a one. It makes it seem as if luck is more of a factor than it should be, and City Wizard feels like it could use a little fleshing out in certain areas to become really addictive. As it stands, it is essentially just a reskin of Triple Town, unfortunately, albeit with a hex-based grid, and it needs something more to really be called its own truly unique variation on a popular concept. Still, if you want a fun, free browser puzzle to play, City Wizard is worth checking out, and hopefully gets expanded on in the future.