In the sea of mobile match-3 games out there some stand out more than others. A good example of more unique approaches is Clockmaker by Belka Games, a title which has been around since 2015.
The game transports you into a steampunk-inspired universe where you’ll be greeted by Uncle – a mysterious character who needs your help to restore his town and rescue its inhabitants. Players can lend a hand by taking up intricate match-3 puzzle which unlock the items needed to restore the dilapidated buildings. As game unfolds they’ll ultimately get to uncover the secret behind what caused the demise of Uncle’s town.
Now if you’re looking for a relaxing match-3 game to play that doesn’t require a lot of investment from your part, this game might not be for you. Clockmaker gets hard pretty fast and in most cases you’ll need to replay levels a lot to be able to advance. Challenges aside, the game provides an interesting experience thanks to some unique mechanics and its cryptic narrative.
If you just started playing this game and you want some ideas on how to beat levels faster, fear not! We have your back with this Clockmaker beginner’s guide which contains a bevy of tips, tricks and strategies that will hopefully provide the necessary info to allow you to fine-tune your puzzle solving skills.
1. Cultivate Patience And Replay Levels As Much As Possible
You’ll have to learn to be patient while playing Clockmaker. Levels can get quite challenging and sometimes it can feel like the game is conspiring against you. Chance plays a large factor when it comes to the type of layout you will get, and the game tends to lean towards generating a lot that aren’t very friendly. And so even with additional help like Boosters you might still struggle to pull through.
The key is not to despair and fully commit to the challenges. Replay the levels as many times as you have to. Take a few breaks and come back to the game when you’re ready for a new round of gameplay. In the end, you’ll be able to find the solution. The universe will smile upon you and provide you with a winning tile layout, at some point. You just have to keep trying.
Attempt different strategies. Every time you replay a level start matching from a different part of the board, match towards the bottom as much as possible and hope for the best. Don’t forget to aim for larger matches to create Boosters. They will amplify your efforts and hopefully give you the shove you need in the right direction.
2. Know Your Level Objective
Sometimes you can’t clear a level because you haven’t been paying attention to the level objective. Make sure you prioritize getting rid of the elements stated in the level objective before you tackle others. Don’t get fixated on removing pieces that you THINK you should remove, check the level objective and see what you need to focus on instead.
Let’s talk examples. A lot of levels in Clockmaker will task you with removing golden tiles off the board. You can do that by creating combinations using the gems that sit on top of them. The tiles can be multilevel, so some will take more than one match to be completely destroyed.
Be careful when these tiles appear in levels that feature other special elements like rocks. You might be tempted to assume that you need to remove all these blocks to clear the level. But be careful, the reality might be that you just need to get rid of just SOME blocks in order to beat the challenge. Just make sure the golden tiles are gone. This should be your main focus, but also keep in mind that some rocks might be hiding golden tiles underneath.
If you ever feel unsure about what the level objective is, don’t hesitate to take a proper look at it yet again by checking the upper right corner of the display during a level. This will ensure you can adjust your strategy accordingly, while it’s not too late.
3. How To Find The Materials Needed To Unlock New Buildings
You get to progress in the story by unlocking new buildings. To do so, you need to collect several items. For example, to unlock The Bookshop you require 8x Horseshoes, 6x Ore and 6x Wooden planks. Tap on the “Looking glass” next to each of them to figure out their respective locations. In this particular case, you can find the Planks by playing a level in the Watch Tower.
Keep in mind that you might not be able to win a Plank from the first go, as there are multiple items you can win at each location and draws are randomized. The Watch Tower ca also produce Gears, Spyglass and Drums.
Don’t be disappointed if you can’t get the right item from the first try. The objects will be stored and maybe you’ll find a use for them later meaning you’ll need them to unlock other buildings in uncle’s town. The trick is to keep playing at the right location and you’ll eventually collect the required objects and move to the next location.
We also recommend watching an ad whenever the option to do so comes up at the end of a level. Yes, we know how annoying ads are, but currently the game doesn’t feature that many offers of this kind, so squeezing a few ads in shouldn’t be such a big nuisance. Watching an ad will ensure you get an extra item at the end of the round in question, which will allow you to unlock new buildings a little bit faster. So keep an eye on these offers, and take them up as they come along.
4. Don’t Forget To Activate Boosters While Playing Levels
Clockmaker is one of those match-3 gamers where creating a Booster doesn’t mean you get to use it immediately. Like always, you can make a power-up by creating larger matches with gems of the same color. There are 3 different Boosters you can make on the playing field:
Type 1: Match 4 gems of the same type in a row to create a bomb gem.
Type 2: Crafted by matching gems in a L or T shape. The resulting gem will have a star symbol on top of it.
Type 3: Make one by matching 5 gems in a row. The resulting gem will feature a lightning bolt symbol.
Once you’ve made one of these Boostery gems you’ll need to create a match once more using gems of the same color. So if you have a Type 1 red gem, you’ll need at least 2 other red gems to set off the power-up. This makes using Boosters a bit tricky, and sometimes we found ourselves all but forgetting about the power-ups we’ve created. Big mistake!
Try not to let the Boosters lay there, you spent a move to create them and you should definitely take advantage of them and their abilities. Once set off, the Type 1 power-up will clear everything in a 3×3 radius, while the Type 2 destroys all gems from a row and column in a “+” pattern. As for Type 3, it removes all the chips of the same color from the playfield.
In Clockmaker you can’t use Boosters in combination, unless setting off one power-up triggers another located in its vicinity. Remember that every time you create a power-up you’ll need to look for a second match using gems of the same color in order to activate it. Despite the process being a bit more challenging, you should nevertheless try your best to activate them as frequently as possible.
Indeed, the game’s design makes it easy to overlook these Boosters because it’s quite easy to miss the little symbols if you’re not looking carefully. This is why you need to pay attention to the playing field and concentrate while you’re trying to beat a level. Don’t play while you’re trying to do something else, such as watching Netflix, for example. Make sure you’re 100% there.
If you’re not a fan of how in-game Boosters work you can always equip the pre-level kind before a challenge starts. There’s 3 of them to pick from including:
Bomb: You can use one to clear a 3×3 cell area;
Star: It removes two intersecting lines of gems;
Lightning: It destroys gems of a chosen color.
Additionally, players also have bonus tools at their disposal which can be used at any point in-game. Bonuses can be placed anywhere on the board, but be careful and make your selection carefully so as not to waste them.
Hammer: Breaks one gem or element;
Dynamite: Clears a field of 3×3 cells;
Color: Removes gems of the same color;
Glove: Moves the selected gems to a specified position.
There bonuses are best used when you’re getting close to reaching the level objective and you need an extra shove to be able to complete the challenge. Either way, make sure you don’t become overly reliant on these power-ups. Bringing them back, once you’ve run out of them, will cost you a type of precious resource called Crystals.
These are extremely rare and hard to get ahold of (you can get them for unlocking new builds, for example), so it would be wise to conserve them as much as possible. Crystals are best used to pay for extra 5 moves once you failed to complete a level, so make sure you hold on to them.
The better solution when it comes to getting ahold of regular pre-level Boosters, as well as bonuses is to check the events that are going on in the game regularly and collect the accumulated rewards. But more on that in the next section.
5. Check Events Daily And Participate As Much As Possible
Clockmaker is packed with various events taking place at the same time. Just check the left side of the display to see how many are going on at one point.
This is actually good news because you can get some extra Boosters and lives, without having to stress too much. The majority of events in this game follow a similar dynamic – you play the game as you normally would and make sure to use gems that have different items attached to them like rain drops or train tickets.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to specifically target these particular gems, just focus on reaching the level objective and in the process you will automatically gather some of these resources which you can then spend during events. One example of this type of event is the Planting Festival which has you collecting seeds and rain drops during levels.
These can be used later in the greenhouse where you are invited to plant the seeds and water them. Once the plants are fully grown you can harvest them and unlock a slew of nice rewards in the process. There are many events just like this one, so make sure you check on them from time to time to see how many resources you’ve accumulated. If you discover that you have quite a few, put them to good use and reap the rewards.
Another type of event features its own set of puzzles. They are still structured like match-3 levels, but they introduced special elements of their own, which you might not have come across yet during the main gameplay.
If you feel like you want to take on these challenges, go ahead, they might provide a nice variation and some cool rewards as well. One such event is The Desperado Rides Again, where you have to help Don Juan impress his sweetheart.
Other events might be there just to give you easy access to free Boosters. When you spot one like that, make sure that you play as much as possible. It might be exactly what you need to clear a few levels in a row. For instance, during Precious Chests, you get to unlock chests filled with goodies if you manage to complete levels from the 1st, 2nd or 3rd try.
6. Use Pets When Available
Once in a while, as you’re unlocking rewards you might stumble upon an interesting little surprise – a cute little pet. These pets aren’t here just to make you go “Aww”. Instead they boast special powers and you should make sure you put them to good use.
Pets are only active for half an hour, so if you’ve unlocked one, don’t go putting the game on hold. Use this unexpected advantage and play. Winston the pup, for example, is fueled by blue gems. Fill up his gem meter at the top by creating matches using blue gems and Winston will release a star booster on the board (type 2). Once the power-up is released you can go ahead and start working towards refilling the meter yet again to make Winston drop another power-up.
There are various pets you can unlock in Clockmaker. How do you find them, you might be wondering at this point, right? Well you simply have to keep playing to unlock progress rewards as well as prizes from events. Occasionally, one of these cute little pets will pop up.
7. Put The Junk You’ve Accumulated To Good Use
While playing Clockmaker you’ll end up accumulating a lot of items. Some of them you’ll need for unlocking new buildings, while others will just amass in the background. Until you put them to good use.
Make sure you check the icons on the right side of the display to see the junk you’ve collected in action. Here small pieces of puzzles come together to create a large image. Once the puzzle is completed, you’ll get to grab a nice reward.
Also make sure to check the Collections tab to see junk items being organized into several albums. Gather all the items that makeup an album and you will be rewarded with unlimited lives, boosters, pets and many other stuff.
You can get junk items by playing the game and unlocking various rewards from the associated events going on. For example, during Precious Chests, you can crack open various boxes filled with rewards. One such box can come carrying 3x Loafs, 2x Puzzle pieces, x1 Newspaper, x1 Gloves and 1x Lightning Booster.
While junk is stored up automatically and used accordingly, you should remember to check to see whether you’ve accumulated enough to collect rewards.
In the same menu, also check your in-game inbox. Developers tend to send goodies and rewards to celebrate various occasions, so make sure you check on the latest developments.
8. Tips To Get Rid Of The Various Special Elements
Like it’s the case with every match-3 game out there, Clockmaker levels feature all sorts of special elements with various proprieties. The hardest challenges blend various of these items onto a single board.
The basic idea to remember here is that in most cases you can interact with the special elements through matching. Although the specifics might vary a bit. In this section we’ll take a look at some of the most common special pieces that appear in Clockmaker and give you a few pointers as how to best tackle them.
Tiles: The golden tiles are the most common elements you’ll stumble upon. Most often than not they are the only target included in the level objective. So try not to get too fixated on the other obstacles on the board, and prioritize getting rid of these pieces. Tiles can come in different flavors. While the golden tiles require only one match to be destroyed, the blue one takes 2 and the orange ones will disappear only after 3.
Arrows: Arrows are usually contained within gems, so when playing a level that tasks you to remove arrows from the board, you need to be very attentive. It’s easy to miss these arrows because they are hidden inside the gem, so keep your eyes peeled. Simply match using items the same color as the gem containing the arrow to collect the special element.
Gears: Gears are filler elements which can be removed from the playfield by matching next to them. They are also interchangeable with gems, which makes getting them out of the way quite easy. They are usually not part of the level objective, but removing them is important as it allows you to clear space on the board and make room for more gems.
Rocks: Rocks can be classified as obstacles. When present they will block your access to certain portions of the board, while not usually be included in the level objective. So you’ll need to get rid of them quickly to open up the board and have more freedom to create matches. You can do so simply by matching in their vicinity once.
Chains: Chains usually block gems in. To get rid of them you’ll have to match using gems of the same color as the piece that’s stuck. Chains can have multiple levels and so the double ones will require two matches to release the gem.
Chains are not usually part of the level objective, but they can restrict movements on the board, which is why it’s recommended to get rid of at least some of them. A similar element to Chains is Ice, which also traps gems inside.
Black gems: Black gems are unique tiles, as they aren’t affected by matching no matter what you do. You can only get rid of them through using a Booster in their vicinity. Fortunately, most of the times the black gems won’t be included in the level objective.
They will be sitting on top of golden tiles or something similar, though. So you don’t necessary have to destroy them all to win, you can just make sure you move them to expose the elements that are actually your target.
Timer bombs: Timer bombs are tricky elements that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. When you spot one, quickly make a match using gems of the same color as the bomb to get rid of it. If you don’t manage to, the level will be lost and you’ll have to start all over again.
Lizards: Lizards only show up later in the game, but if you take on one of the events like The Desperado Rides Again, you’ll get to play levels featuring this element ahead of time. Anyway, players need to move the lizards on a path and make it reach a portal.
You advance the lizard by spotting paw-shaped gems and incorporating them into matches with gems of the same color. During these kinds of levels, you’ll need to prioritize moving the lizard, but be careful. If an obstacle appears on the lizard’s path, you’ll need to remove it first before the tiny creature can continue on its way to the portal.
These are all the tips we have for you when it comes to Clockmaker, and our beginner’s guide provided you with enough inspiration so that you know what to do during the next challenging level that shows up. If you happen to know additional strategies for the game, feel free to let us know below in the comments!