Gardenscapes is among the most well-known match-3 titles available to play on handheld devices today. Created by mobile games publisher Playrix, the company who is also behind titles such as Homescapes and Manor Matters, this game has generated nearly 324 million installs to date since January 1, 2014.
The game beings with you receiving a letter from Austin, the butler who informs you that following your uncle’s passing you’ve inherited his large estate in the country side. You’re invite to check it out only to find that while the mansion seems to be in pretty great shape, the garden has been abandoned for a while and needs a lot of work done. You thus embark on a quest alongside Austin – who by now has become your own butler – to restore the beautiful garden to its former glory.
Playrix’s smash hit has paved the way for many games in the category by instating a successful formula that blends match-3 with puzzle elements and so keeps players coming back for more. The game is built around a couple of simple principles. Let’s begin with the match-3 aspect – every level comes with a set of objectives that need to be completed (for example collect 25 berries and 40 apples) before one can pass to the next stage. There’s a limited number of moves you have at your disposal to reach the goals, and failure to do so will cost you one life out of the total of 5.
In addition, Gardenscapes benefits from a compelling narrative which drives the game forward between match-3 levels. Nevertheless, in case this style of narrative is not really your cup of tea, you can always press Skip during the dialogues and go on ahead with the match-3 gameplay. However, you won’t be able to escape some interactions, because as its core Gardenscapes is a social game where the characters constantly interact between each other, so at some point you’ll have to give in.
At the end of each level you will receive a gold star, which is the currency needed to unlock the upgrades for the garden. The majority will cost you only one star, but at times you’ll be required to spend two or even three to set up more complex renovations. If you want to stay clear of the story as much as possible, it’s possible to play a series of match-3 levels in succession without halting for garden upgrades – the game won’t refuse you that, however we do believe that the twists and turns on the story are a fun addition to the gameplay which makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.
Now while Gardescapes may start out simple enough, the stages’ difficulty factor will climb rather quickly as you progress. In our experience, compared to other similar games, Gardenscapes’ levels are a lot harder to beat. Even at first, when you have enough gold to invest in additional perks, you might still find that some levels are a bit too complex to be cleared in only one go.
But not to worry, we’re here to help, so we’ve put together a detailed Gardenscapes’ guide which features lots of useful tips, tricks and strategies that should help you improve your playstyle and overall gaming performance in no time.
1. Aim To Perform Larger Matches Of 4 Pieces And Above
Gardenscapes revolves around the simple principle of matching at least three similar pieces to make them disappear from the board. Yet, to be able to master most levels, you will have to aim to perform bigger matches of 4 pieces and above.
Our advice is that you start doing so as soon as possible. Train yourself to study the board before making a move, and resist the impulse to perform random matches just for the sake of doing so. You are also encouraged to pay attention to the matching cues the game automatically serves up. While not all prompts should be taken into account, you should surely take up those suggestions that lead to bigger matches.
Combo matches are very important in Gardenscapes because they lead to the creation of Power-ups – tools which boast special powers and are essential during harder levels. It’s advised that you try and learn which matches produce which Power-ups, so that you can easily recognize the possibility of making one on the board. Below you will find a list of all the Boosters you can make in Gardenscapes and their uses.
Firecracker: Players can create a Firecracker by matching four tiles of the same color either horizontally or vertically. When activated Firecrackers will clear tiles in a cross pattern. These Power-ups aren’t particularly powerful when used by themselves, as their strength comes in numbers, so be sure to conserve them until you have a few.
Bomb: Bombs are made by matching five pieces of the same color in a L or T pattern. Once swapped with another tile, Bombs will explode everything within a two-tile radius.
Dynamite: Dynamites are like Bombs but a lot more effective. You’ll have to match six pieces of the same color horizontally, vertically or L pattern to get one. When a Dynamite explodes it clears everything within a three-tile radius.
TNT barrel: The TNT barrel is the most powerful Power-up you can create in this game. To do so, you’ll need to match seven or more pieces of the same color, so the possibility to make one won’t appear too often. Nevertheless, when you do get one, know that it can cause an explosion within a four-tile radius.
Unlike similar match-3 games, combining two Power-ups in Gardenscapes won’t result in the fusion of their respective powers. That is not to say that you shouldn’t aim to combine Power-ups, especially Firecrackers whose effect is pretty weak when exploded alone. Why should that be an objective? We discuss the answer in the following section.
2. Charge The Rainbow Blast As Often As Possible
You can use Power-ups during a level to clear a big chunk of tiles from the board, but that’s not the only reason why you should aim to make and use as many as possible. Detonating regular Power-ups will charge a special Power-up called the Rainbow Blast. When fully charged, the Blast will be placed on the field in a random position, and once swapped with an adjacent piece it will remove all the tiles of that type from the board.
The Rainbow Blast is a powerful tool and so it should be used with care. Depending on the objectives you need to complete during a level, make sure to properly consider which tiles are worth removing from the board. That could mean not using the Rainbow Blast right away and performing a few matches so that you can get the tile you need next to the Power-up.
While combining regular Power-ups mainly helps with charging the Rainbow Blast faster, combining two of Blasts together will bring about a massive explosion which will obliterate all the tiles on the board. Therefore, a good strategy would be to create as many Power-ups as possible, which in turn will generate more Rainbow Blasts to your game. When these finally arrive on the board, make it a point to get two of them to settle in adjoining slots. Following this plan all but guarantees your success at beating a level.
3. Play The Mini Games When Available
Sometimes after finishing a level, the game will offer you the option to play a mini game. We advise that you keep an eye for such opportunities and take them on as they arise.
The mini games are puzzle levels that are easy to win. Even if you make mistakes, you can go back to the beginning and try again until you master the challenge. At the end, you will receive a substantial prize in gold coins.
Gold is very important in Gardenscapes, as it can provide you with the means to get the tools needed to beat a level. For example, in exchange for 900 coins you can get 5 additional moves so you can continue playing a tricky stage.
Sometimes despite your best efforts and clever strategies, you won’t be able to clear customs unless you secure some extra aids. Coins can buy these helping tools, for example Boosters (which will be discussed in section 4). Cash can also be spent to speed up the renovation process during some of the reconstruction phases in the garden, but we recommend that you abstain from doing that. Gold is precious, and it would be wise to conserve and use it to help you get through challenging levels.
Gold can be obtained by clearing stages, but other than that you also have the opportunity to win gold as a reward for participating in events and competitions, as well as for unlocking milestone rewards as they progress in the game. Sometimes you might also receive a reward consisting of gold by completing a renovation-related task (for example, filling the fountain with water).
4. Use Boosters During Hard Levels
As previously mentioned, you’ll encounter your fair share of hard levels while playing Gardenscapes. Some of the toughest are even marked in red or purple, and come with greater rewards. In such cases, pre-match Boosters might be the winning solution to solve the level.
Before saying anything further, we should note that Boosters aren’t available right from the get-go, as you will have to reach a certain stage to be able to use them. The tools need to be equipped before a level starts and come in three flavors:
– Double Bombs (unlocks once you reach level 12)
– Rainbow Blast (unlocks once you reach level 16)
– Dynamite + Rainbow Blast (unlocks once you reach level 20)
Activating pre-match Boosters means you will start a level with these Power-ups already present on the board. During really hard levels, it is our advice that you head into the game with all three Boosters activated. In most cases, this strategy will help tip the scales in your favor and allow you to succeed.
If you still need more help, Gardenscapes offers additional Boosters on the right side of the display. There’s three of them:
– Shovel – clears any tile without using a move;
– Rake – clears all tiles in a row and column without using a move;
– Gardening glove – swaps two neighborhood pieces without using a move.
Some of these pre-match Boosters should be used as a last resort. For example, the Shovel or Gardening glove provide the perfect exit move, allowing you to clear any remaining tiles that you were unable to clear with a match.
Alternatively, Rakes are a bit more powerful, so they can be quite effective when used during a match. Be careful how often you use these helping tools, though. Once you run out of them, you will need to pay gold coins to buy additional ones, and they don’t come cheap (1900 coins for 3 pre-match Boosters).
5. Constantly Adapt Your Strategy
Gardenscapes offers a myriad of levels, so players can be sure they will never encounter a dull moment. Some stages entail that you collect a number of pieces of a certain color, while others task you with discovering garden gnomes which are hidden underneath layers of grass. Furthermore, some stages will have you bring items such as glasses of lemonade to the bottom of the board. The game’s toughest levels usually combine these tasks.
Depending on which type of level you are playing, you will need to tweak your strategy to fit the situation, because the same tactic will not work in all scenarios. In this section, we’re going to look at some of the typical types of levels that pop up during the game and provide you with some tips and strategies to help you win.
First off, let’s talk about the basic sort of level. The board is free of any obstacles and all you need to do is make sure you clear away tiles of a certain color. In this case your strategy should be to focus on the lower part of the field. Clearing that area will cause multiple auto-matches in the upper part of the field, and some could even result in some very handy Power-ups.
Alternatively, if you’re playing a level where need to release the Garden gnomes from their grass prison, we recommend that you focus on matching within the green area as much as possible, until you find them. Speed up the process by throwing Power-ups into the mix. While it’s not entirely necessary to clear the whole board during such levels, merging two Rainbow Blasts will have the effect of erasing an entire layer from the field. Sometimes, one or two gnomes will elude your search efforts, so clearing the whole board of tiles will have the effect of quickly uncovering them.
What if you’re playing a level that feature several obstacles that you need to get rid of? These can be things like Chains, Ice, Stone or Boxes and their presence will prevent you from matching freely on the board. To remove these obstacles and open up the field you will need to focus your attention on making matches or exploding Power-ups next to the obstacles in order to destroy them or release the tiles that hold them captive. In the case of Chains or Ice, players will have to create a match using tiles of the same color as the locked-in piece.
During levels where you are supposed to gather a certain number of pieces (Flowers, Lemonade glasses, Acorns), first focus on getting as many of these objects on the board. In the case of Flowers, players need to match in the vicinity of a flower bed in order to release these Flowers and then perform matches to collect them.
As for Acorns, you merely have to match in their vicinity to collect them. An easy way to amass them is to swap an Acorn with a Rainbow blast. Lemonades and similar items are a bit trickier as you need to get them to the bottom of the board to collect them, and not all will be present on the field at the same time. The trick here, after you collect the first Lemonade glasses, is to try and employ Power-ups to clear a large area of tiles towards the bottom and thus make the other Lemonade glasses fall from the top. If you can’t find a way to make Power-ups, match towards the lower part of the board so you can clear space and draw the remaining Lemonade glasses out.
6. Exit A Level For A Potential Better Load Out Upon Return
In Gardenscapes you can sometimes be hit by bad luck. There will be plenty of instances when you open up a level only to find a really unsatisfactory tile load out that you know will get you nowhere. When that’s the case you can simply back out the level and come back in for a potentially better load out that will hopefully enable you to make a Bomb or better from the first move.
Don’t worry if you only have a few lives left and you don’t want to waste them. If you decide the best course of action is to restart the level, do so before making a single move on the board. This way you will conserve your precious lives.
So study the board before doing anything, and make your decision before you start playing. Don’t leave it to fate! In order to restart a level, tap the Gear icon in the lower right part of the display and exit the level, then launch it again.
7. Use Up All Your Lives Before Starting a New Day
Speaking of which, running out of lives happens to be a pretty frequent occurrence in Gardenscapes. In order to avoid waiting for your lives to refill, make sure to check your Inbox regularly, as some of the game’s characters will send extra lives as rewards for completing renovation-related tasks. Don’t hesitate to make use of them when the need arises.
Alternatively, if you’ve logged-in the game with Facebook you can always ask your friends for some help. It also wouldn’t hurt to join a team. In case your social media buddies fail you, then maybe you could persuade your team members to send you a life or two.
If you have enough gold, you can also spend 900 coins to refill your lives, but it is our recommendation that you keep your finances intact for other purposes (as explained in section 3).
Most importantly, since Gardenscapes operates on a day/night cycle your lives will get refilled once you tap the “Start a new day” button in the To do tab it would be wasteful to move on to the next day, if you still have, for instance, 2 lives left. Instead use the energy at your disposal until it dries out and only then go on ahead and unlock a new day.
8. Beat As Many Levels As You Can In One Go
Using all the tips and strategies we have outlined above, try beating as many levels as you can in one go. The suggestion seems like an obvious one, but we’re making it nevertheless. That’s because in Gardensapes, embarking on a winning streak will ensure you receive countless rewards via the events regularly hosted by the game.
There’s always something going on in Gardenscapes. For example, during the Magic Hats event which lasts for a few days, uninterrupted winning will get you increasingly better Power-ups bundles at the start of each level.
Other events could be going on at the same time. For instance, during our own gameplay Bumper Crop and Magic Hats were both available. The event allows players to compete with others for unlimited lives once they have collected 100 apples. Players get enrolled in special events automatically, so doing your best to clear level after level is all you need to do to become eligible to win the various prizes.
With this we come to the end of our Gardenscapes guide. We do hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and that you’ve found some useful tips and tricks that will help you figure out how to beat all the tricky levels in this game. If you have knowledge any other strategies that we haven’t outlined in this guide, please don’t hesitate to share it with us via the comment section below!