Are you a pigeon or a penguin? It seems an odd question to consider, but makes sense within the realm of SubaraCity. This puzzle game is all about matching blocks to create a city, along the lines of Spry Fox’s Triple Town, but in a more relaxing manner. It’s all about being aware of which blocks to properly combine and eliminate, with moves you wouldn’t expect being the smarter ones, and continuing to grow your city. It’s a novel and relaxing little game.
In SubaraCity, there are Casual and Normal modes. Since there are no timers, the only difficulty comes from the number of colored blocks you have to deal with in each round. Casual only offers three colors and doesn’t allow you to earn additional Mayor Marks that let you eliminate a single tile. Normal has four colors and lets you earn Mayor Marks as you play. As you match blocks, which have buildings, people and occasionally cats on them, you’ll form larger and higher level buildings and increase your “population.” Once you create a level 10 building, you can gather a slew of like buildings to create a special monument that is of a higher level and on a golden tile, but can never be combined into another, larger level building again. Of course, you get a massive population boost for making a building over level 10, as well as more Mayor Marks after constructing over eight of these.
With space at a premium, SubaraCity is all about smart matching moves. Many of the standard spatial awareness puzzle moves apply here. You want to make matches from the top first, then work your way down. The top screen always shows three possible moves you can make, which helps with that. You want higher level buildings gathered on the sides and bottom of your grid, leaving an open space to work with in the center. Any buildings that are higher than level 10 should be along the edges, if possible.
It’s when you get past these basics that SubaraCity begins to switch things up a bit. In such games, where you’re able to combine tiles when you have at least two, there’s this temptation to let a group grow as large as possible for a high score. That isn’t the best idea here. Instead, you should always be constantly group and moving items to the outsides. Even if there are only two together, that’s fine. Pair them up and keep moving. Your big population gains are going to come from the more major combinations, after all.
The other thing you might not expect is the usage of Mayor Marks. With them providing the luxury of removing a tile, someone might think it an opportunity to help clear away a standard SubaraCity tile. Rather, it’s a means of clearing a building that is over level 10, so you can then work towards having one that is perhaps over level 20. You want to have the highest level building as possible in your city. This means its to your benefit to earn as many Mayor Marks as possible by putting in buildings over level 10 when you can, then gradually deleting to make more room and opportunities to pull together a building you can really be proud of to get the population goal you deserve.
In its own way, SubaraCity is its own kind of wonderful. (Yes, that’s a pun. SubaraCity is quite close to the Japanese word for wonderful, subarashii.) It’s this calming game that forces you to continually keep track of where you’re matching and when. It’s about knowing when to organize, arrange, and delete tiles. Most importantly, it’s about knowing a match could last exactly as long as you’d like. It’s easy to control the pace and length with your moves, allowing you the experience you want at that moment.