You. Must. Build. A. Boat. After each round of this offbeat action-puzzle game you’re reminded exactly what your task is in huge, screen-spanning letters. As if the title wasn’t enough of a hint.
This game’s handmade feel and playful dialogue are all part of its charm; the blocky pixel art and soundtrack – which sounds like it was made on a Commodore 64 or some other ’80s relic – won’t win any awards, but they’re certainly endearing.
So how do you build that boat? By keeping a dungeon run going for as long as possible, matching weapons to carve up enemies and keys to open chests. As our hero runs along the top of the screen, encountering enemies and treasure, you’re in charge of the main grid below, where you slide the different icons around with your finger to make a match.
On top of attacks and opening chests, matching three or more shields makes you immune to attacks; match crates and you might discover a weapon or other bonus inside; other tiles increase your character’s strength and sharpens their mind, which becomes important later on.
Return to your boat between each run and you’ll find that the more you play, the more characters jump on board. You can also head below deck to upgrade your attack, defence and more.
Building a boat sounds like hard work, but here it’s your reward for quick thinking and sharp reflexes. While crafting your vessel in You Must Build A Boat won’t ever see you moor it up in Monaco, at the very least you’ll have enjoyed hours of slightly odd, but brilliantly constructed puzzle game action.