The 4th game in the Gnomes Garden series is available on Xbox One now and if, like me, you’ve enjoyed the addictive and simple gameplay of the previous three games then chances are you’ll snap this up as quickly as I did. If you’ve been playing along with the series so far then you could happily read any of our other reviews and still get all the information you need about this latest game.
We’ve had Gnomes Garden, Gnomes Garden 2, Gnomes Garden: New Home and now Gnomes Garden 3: The Thief of Castles. With this latest iteration it is business as usual for the resource management style of gameplay.
Everything seen so far in the previous games is here and accounted for which is fine but there’s no escaping the fact it’s getting stale now. If you’re new to the series there is no need to go back and play the others to catch up with the story. While there is one, it’s hardly something with depth.
It’s never been the series’ strong point and that is no different here.
What is the game’s strong point is the addictive style of gameplay even if it is very repetitive. Even more so if you’re coming into this having played the previous games. There are no new ideas and no new twists on how you play.
Just make your way through level after level completing the tasks set out for you. Tasks that include clearing roads, planting trees, removing obstacles and much more. You begin each level with worker gnomes and they are sent out to complete the tasks. Click on a resource to get them to pick it up, send them to rebuild destroyed buildings and so on. You can line-up the tasks for them to complete so they’re always running back and forth. Provided you have the resources though.
Completing tasks costs resources so you have to balance what you’re rebuilding and collecting. It gets easier as you get mills, quarrys and farms going but at the start of each level you’ll have to stop and think carefully. A decent attempt at adding strategy to the game even if it doesn’t feel like it.
It’s not a challenging game, easy to get to grips with and once you have the basics down levels will fly by. Again, just like the previous games that comes from the star system.
Clear a level as quickly as possible and you’ll get three stars. With a bar on the left-hand side of the screen slowly depleting as you play. Smart and careful planning will rarely see three stars missed but there are a handful of levels that are very tight. This adds a certain level of franticness to the game.
Just like the previous games, Gnomes Garden 3 is the epitome of the ‘just five more minutes’ game. You’ll finish one level, tell yourself that you’re going to take a break and before you know it, you’ll have done another two or three.
It’s the same game and if it wasn’t for the low price point (£3.99/$4.99) it wouldn’t be worth picking up. It is though, thanks to its cheapness. However, unlike the previous games, a bug came up a handful of times throughout. On several occasions work gnomes, firemen and sorceress would get stuck when leaving a building. This was most common when using the cableway and/or using the speed up boost. Once or twice it could be forgivable but it happened far too many times resulting in the level having to be restarted.
A minor complaint but one that is very noticeable when this is the 4th game we’ve played and reviewed. This might be it now though, unless something drastically different comes from the next game.
Gnomes Garden 3: The Thief of Castles