Sometimes you need a game that doesn’t require too much brainpower. Fiveamp‘s MergeCrafter is that type of game. That may seem like a strange statement since it is a puzzle game, but it’s meant as a compliment. While not a game for everyone, MergeCrafter is perfect for those looking for a game to play while watching Netflix.
If the title doesn’t give it away, the game uses the merging format. You are given a small plot of land and a couple of miscellaneous items. Similar items need to be combined to create more powerful iterations. For example, when you merge 3 acorns they turn into an oak sapling. By combining these items and completing quests, your land expands, and you gain access to more ingredients to merge. Eventually, you gain an axe to chop down trees, which gives you even more ingredients to merge. It’s a simple gameplay loop that allows you to turn your brain off and have fun.
The game’s main objective is merge things to craft new things. You’ll be doing that on the home screen and in the quests the game offers. It may be repetitive to some, but the lack of stakes works in the game’s favor. There are no real main quests, and the characters are largely inconsequential. The gameplay does not go beyond you moving ingredients to spaces to create more ingredients. But the aesthetic, music and gameplay all come together to create a relaxing experience that’s not too demanding.
I mentioned using an axe to chop down trees. Tool crafting is one of the main uses for the different ingredients you will be merging. The crafting menu gives you the option to craft a variety of axes, pickaxes and other essential items needed for merging and crafting. There are side quests in MergeCrafter, and by completing them you’re given the ability to craft new, stronger tools. Tools are your bread and butter in MergeCrafter. However, they’re also the source of my biggest confusion with the game.
As your island expands you will come across certain blockades that, when tapped, will say, “no tool strong enough was found.” I thought I would naturally come across the materials needed to craft said stronger tools. However, after logging almost 10 hours in game it’s still not apparent what tools are strong enough to break these items. Though MergeCrafter is mostly self-explanatory, these unexplained elements of the game could potentially hinder a player’s enjoyment of the game.
MergeCrafter also has an issue when it comes to the organization of all your ingredients. New items you acquire are thrown to a random free spot on your island. It’s manageable at first but becomes more of a chore as your land grows. And once you have a large plot of land, keeping track of items is almost impossible. Keeping this in mind going into the game may help players better plan out their island management. But, for players going in blind, it’s easy to clutter up your island without realizing it.
MergeCrafter seems to know what it is. There are elements of the game that can be confusing or frustrating. With that said, the game itself is a relaxing experience that is a perfect mindless experience. It’s not a game that will constantly have you itching to play it, and it’s not trying to be. It’s a game that you’ll turn on a couple of times during the day and play for a few minutes when you’re bored. And it’s great at being that.
Is It Hardcore?
Hardcore isn’t exactly the word I’d use for MergeCrafter. It’s a fun game for those looking for something mindless.