Concrete Jungle on PC
Concrete Jungle, by ColePowered Games, is a manic blend of SimCity, Tetris, and trading card games. It’s a very imaginative blend that sounds like it shouldn’t work at all, but somehow the pieces all seem to fit together. Tasking players with building up cities using randomly-drawn decks, this creative and challenging title is like nothing I’ve ever played.
Gameplay in Concrete Jungle is pretty simple. Each game takes place on a grid made up of a number of rows onto which players can place buildings and other cards from their ever-cycling deck. Cards such as houses and duplexes gather points, while most cards will raise or lower the point value of nearby squares. Build up enough points within the lowermost row, and it “clears”, making way for further rows moving forward.
Most of my experience with Concrete Jungle was spent in the game’s Solo Mode, which is the simplest form of play. While objectives and map layout will force some restrictions on what you can do, players are largely free to design as they will with whatever cards come across their hand. Players can also auto-clear a row that’s beyond hope here at the cost of one of three “lives” — which also means a hit to final score.
Mixing things up a bit, Concrete Jungle also includes a Versus Mode, pitting players against a rival in turn-based competition with more complex rules. In this mode, all but the lowermost row has columns on either side where only one player may build, and strategy is crucial for any measure of success. Players collect points by clearing a row, which nets them all the points gathered there by either player, or by auto-clearing, which happens for free if the bottom row is completely filled.
If all of this makes Concrete Jungle sound simple, don’t be fooled. While play remains pretty much the same, the variety of cards and the skill required to put together a winning strategy in either Solo or Versus modes ramps up quickly. Careful placement of each card becomes more and more important, especially as you try to tackle the opposition, a required feat to unlock more cards to put into your deck.
All told, Concrete Jungle is solid in its execution, especially considering the apparent mismatch of genres at play. There’s a lot here for those who love unique strategic play. The amount of content and available randomly-generated maps certainly helps fill out its total content. It may not do enough to draw in those who aren’t already strategy fans, but it’s a great pick-up for those who are.