Who knew simulated digital quilting is such a blast?! Patchwork is as soothing and simplistic as you'll find.
Android & iOS
10 - 20 Minutes
# of Players
1 - 2
Patchwork is an odd strategy game that incorporates puzzles and the classic board game play of advancing along a predetermined number of spaces towards the finish line. The goal is to sew together your blanket/quilt with more pieces than your opponent while accumulating buttons & points along the way. All these things take place in a world of fabric inhabited by owls and humans alike with names like Hoo, Lula, and Ute. I have to admit, I thought this was a children's game at first, and I'm still not 100% sure it isn't. What may save Patchwork from falling into the dirty, sticky hands of only 6 year old gamers is the strategic advancement along the board timeline and how to manipulate this in one's favor.
A turn in Patchwork has two possible actions - You either select and sew in a piece of your quilt via buying one of the three available patches, or you choose to pass the next player on the game board. However, in Patchwork it may behoove you to slowly crawl to the finish and lag behind your opponent in order to purchase and sew in more quilt pieces. A player continues to take a turn until their button is ahead of the opponents on the board. This allows for multiple opportunities to add to your quilt. Each patch quilt piece is assigned a button cost as well as number of spaces advanced along the board. These attributes allow you plan your timeline advancement and button budget.
Along the timeline board are buttons and single quilt pieces. Should you pass a button on the timeline, you are rewarded with a button for every one stitched into your quilt. These timeline buttons are a fixture on the board and each player is awarded this button bonus as they pass. As for the single patch pieces, well these little guys are vital to the completion of your quilts. Unlike the buttons on the timeline, these single patches are given solely to the first player to reach them.
Barrier to Entry
The tutorial, taught by Ute the cute, self proclaimed Patchwork Master does an adequate job of preparing you to enjoy and succeed in the game. As per usual, those who enjoyed the board game, will have no problem adapting to the digital version. The statistic screen does a very good job displaying how the scores were calculated to determine the winner. Using this information, you develop an understanding of how important holes in your quilt, total buttons, and the first 7x7 square is during the game.
Starting off along the the board timeline
Close game with an online opponent.
Look and Feel
Patchwork both looks and feels like a Saturday morning cartoon from the early 1990's. Hell, it even sounds like it, too. If you're not careful, the lullaby like theme music will whisk you away into sweet dreamy nap time and you'll be woken up at your desk with drool on your phone. In a way, this cozy blanket game is therapeutic, relaxing, and charming thanks to the the simple sounds and homely characters woven seemlessly into the digital version of Patchwork.
There are currently two backgrounds to choose from within the app, a country landscape and a perspective view of a quilt. Neither one in my opinion is better than the other. However, should you be flush with money, there are alternate backgrounds to choose from as in-app purchases. I've been eyeing the outer space themed background. Keep in mind, they do not offer any advantages as far as game play, just a pleasant change of scenery.
Online Multiplayer is available and I've been able to connect to games in no time at all. Patchwork does a great job of stat keeping for online games. The statistics screen is easy to follow, and within just a handful of games, one can see their quilt skills pay off in leader board advancement. One particular feature I like of Patchwork's multiplayer is the option to choose a fast game with a short time limit between turns. This is a great way to stay in the game with someone else who's committed to playing a quick match. During online games I like to chat with my opponent (Yes, Pixelmack is that guy.) I always ask if they've played the board game, and the answer is always yes. I like to mention how great the game ported over to digital and everyone else agrees. That being said, find me on Patchwork - Screen name Pixelmack and let's have a game.
Patchwork has three levels of AI strength; Easy, Medium and Hard. Truth be told, I lost at least five times to Hoo the Easy Owl before finally winning. That's about all for single player options. There are no story modes or challenges to be found, and they aren't really needed nor missed.
A recent update to Patchwork added new & more difficult AI. This new guy (Uwe) and I have competitively quilted many times now, and I have to say, he is good with a digital needle and thread. What makes this new AI harder is the meticulous button management. The last few turns of the most recent game we played he simply passed and accumulated buttons. This recent update also increased the skill level of the other AI opponents.
Sewing a patch onto my quilt
Final quilts after an online match
The app developer DigiDiced also developed Terra Mystica, so now my creepy Dwarf Mining Engineer avatar shows up along side Patchwork Lula and other adorable, friendly avatars. I'm sure this is off-putting for my opponents during Online Multiplayer matches. Should someone ask what I would change about the game, I do have some suggestions. Another board with a different path and alternative button & patch placement would be nice. Even a quilt of a different size and shape would make the game better and add replayability.
The Wrap Up
This Patchwork review would not be complete without congratulating the developers and designers for employing a soft technique and lighthearted theme to this strategy app. Just like the original board game, Patchwork the Game app should become a staple in any digital gamer's collection. I'm confident that new quilters playing Patchwork on the app will love it. Experienced board game quilters are already enjoying the digital adaptation, and i hope many more hop online to keep the multiplayerverse strong.