Appidemic: Master of Craft for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

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We’ve all learned by now that social sims are a good time, but combining the genre with RPGs and action has been a tricky matter.  Master of Craft, however, has managed this, despite its less than descriptive title.

What is it?

Master of Craft is adorable little fantasy town sim with a strong flair for including RPG elements, and has blended social network appeal with a teensy bit of combat action to create what this reviewer thinks might turn out to be the freemium blockbuster of the summer.

Master of Craft

There’s nothing to complain about with the interface, which is itself an enormous accomplishment when it comes to a sim of this type on such a small screen. Action boxes are easily brought up by tapping clearly labeled buildings and icons. The only part that’s a bit trickier is accessing the menu to raise shop prices, but that’s detailed in the thorough tutorial when you begin the game. The blacksmith master to which the player is “apprenticed” does the heavy lifting when it comes to tutorials, but plays little role in the game aside from that. This is a plus, after dealing with the incessant meddling NPCs seem to be prone to in other similar games.

How does it work?

The absence of clutter, the adorable animations, the understated bird’s-eye-view of the 3D town, and its overall busyness contribute to this being a thoroughly enjoyable title. As with most social town sims, Master of Craft is built on a freemium model, but it doesn’t force the player into in-app purchases.

Master of Craft

By the time the player has gained a few levels in the town (very easy to do without visiting the store) there’s so much going on that buying gems to speed things up seems to be entirely unnecessary unless one is just incredibly impatient. This reviewer speculates that that means there will be some seriously cool vanity items in the app store as the game gains popularity; if it’s not pay to win, it’s almost certainly going to be “pay to be prettier.”  That’s a refreshing change from the way certain games in the app store try to strong arm players into dipping into their wallets to play for “free.”

The game isn’t overly ambitious in the graphics department; why would a game of this type need to be? It has a cute, colorful style that comes across clearly, and it’s obvious that regardless of simplicity, time was taken to make this game polished and pleasing to the eye.  The dungeon scenes even have some adorable combat animation.

Master of Craft has focused its efforts on actual game play, ambience, and polish, while maintaining a simple, down to earth visual style that suits the game’s personality perfectly; would that more developers would take this route. The background music is a cheerful, playful tune that isn’t too repetitive, and there are sound effects for completing tasks, collecting money, and of course, for special attacks in dungeon combat.

Is it contagious?

All in all, Master of Craft is doing everything right. It might not be revolutionary, but it does manage to be fresh, fun, and easy without being boring or condescending. Anyone can play this addictive little game and have a good time. It’s available now in the iTunes App Store, and it’s free to download. There’s a cash in-app shop, but don’t let that dissuade you; if you’re determined to play for free, Master of Craft won’t put the screws to you.

Category: Games
Developer: IdeaBox Games
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
Buy: Master of Craft

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