Hutch Games has always been a company associated with driving simulation and racing games. MMX Hill Dash 2, Rebel Racing, Top Drives, and F1 Manager are some of Hutch Games’ successful mobile racing games that we played and enjoyed over the years. Each one has broken the 5 million downloads mark on the Google Play Store, with most going beyond the 10 million downloads mark.
Puzzle Heist is a match-3 puzzle game mixed in with action RPG and base-building strategy game elements. Puzzle Heist stands as the first non-racing/driving title from Hutch Games yet its overall theme and style gives the look and feel akin to that of the Fast & Furious franchise. Battles revolve around car chases and gun fights as you match tiles to shoot at and eliminate your enemies. Outside of combat, you need to tend to your base camp and steadily cause for its growth and development to earn you more resources and house more crew members.
Puzzle Heist comes packed with a unique and immersive story of its own. The first chapter basically serves as the tutorial session to teach you everything you need to know to prepare you for the challenges ahead. Information is provided whenever you unlock any of the new features as well. The basic mechanics and gameplay are simple and easy to pick up, although the challenges can be trickier to conquer especially compared to exclusively match-3 puzzle games.
If you have just started playing Puzzle Heist or if you are planning to do so, you should know that there are no right or wrong ways to go about progressing through its challenges. However, as the difficulty past the initial chapter will be increasingly challenging, you would want to go about everything as efficiently as possible.
If you are looking for better ways and means of growing your crew and camp, then read our Puzzle Heist guide, as it comes with tips and strategies to dominate every challenge!
1. Maintain A Balanced Crew
Your performance in each battle you engage in Puzzle Heist partly relies on your expertise when it comes to strategizing around each match-3 puzzle in combat. However, the other half of what makes a difference between winning and losing depends on the crew you have. Each character to recruit and train in Puzzle Heist comes with his or her own unique ability, as well as strengths and limitations. More importantly, how each of the units you choose synergizes with the rest can tremendously impact your performance in each challenge.
Unlockable units have different rarities as indicated by the number of stars they have. Characters with higher stars are naturally more difficult to obtain and typically possess stronger abilities. There are ways of raising a character’s star grade, though, although the cost of doing so will not come cheap. In this sense, it becomes important to bank on characters that are already at higher star grades to begin with.
Beyond rarities, each character also categorically belong to 1 of 5 different elements or colors. Puzzle Heist employs the proverbial “rock-paper-scissors” in how damage is treated in battle based on these colors, which is why it is very important to take note of this in combat. Fortunately enough as well, you do not need to memorize which color has an advantage or disadvantage against which other color as the cycle is always displayed at the upper left side of the battle screen. It is worth noting that an advantage means double damage while a disadvantage halves the damage dealt. Having this in mind should affect how you strategize and prioritize targets in every battle.
Being mindful of the rock-paper-scissors mechanics should already encourage you to ensure that your 5-person crew has each element represented. For starters, the first five crew members to join your team each belong to a different color and as you recruit more and more characters, you will basically just be switching one character to a better unit belonging to the same color as the person he or she will replace.
There is nothing in Puzzle Heist that bars you from straying from the conventions and having 2 or more members of the crew belong to the same element. Each hero’s stamina, which powers up their special ability, however, is generated by successful matches of colored tiles attributable to the hero’s element.
If you have 5 red units on your crew, therefore, only red tiles you match will generate stamina for them while matches from other colored tiles would be a complete waste. Given that puzzles will always contain tiles of different colors, having a multi-colored team roster works best to ensure that every match you create will earn some stamina for your crew, beyond the potential outright damage it deals to the enemies ahead.
Each crew member you recruit also belongs to a specific class. This does not necessarily have an impact on their stats and abilities but its more important application relate to the rides you pair up with each unit. Crew members and rides belonging to same class will yield additional perks, usually higher stat boosts from the ride itself. As far as individual stats and skills are concerned, you should always look into each hero’s details to see their unique stats and skills.
A common and inarguably important consideration to consider when picking your crew primarily focus on dealing damage. Some crew members excel in dealing heavy damage to a single enemy unit while others can deal decent damage to all enemies. Beyond attack stats and offensive strength, however, you also have to consider crew members who can support your team through healing or unique skills like ones that prevent enemies from launching attacks. These are potential reasons for you to consider a lower grade unit over a higher one.
2. Battles & Base-Building Are Equally Important
One of the usual tips we discuss in a lot of the mobile games we play revolves around focusing on the main game mode to progress faster. Puzzle Heist does exhibit a campaign mode that you need to battle through but given that it also holds a base-building game mechanic makes it unreasonable for anyone to prioritize one over the other.
Your base camp in Puzzle Heist basically generates the basic resources you need to grow such as cash, metal, or even crew members. Like any base-building game, every construction and upgrade takes time making it important for you to ensure that there is always something developing at camp before you go off on an adventure.
Constructing a new building as well as upgrading the first couple of times will be comparatively quick but you can expect the completion times to grow exponentially as you reach higher levels. Campaign battles can have unpredictability as to how long each level will take to complete but surely enough, running through a campaign stage is a much better way of passing the time while an upgrade back at home camp is progressing.
Campaigns in Puzzle Heist are divided across episodes. There are 25 episodes to conquer and each one, save for the first one, holds 10 stages. There are no extra benefits to reap on how you perform in each stage. Unlike in most RPGs where 3-star ratings are earned for beating levels with a complete crew, Puzzle Heist makes it simple enough in that winning through each stage is all that matters.
Stages you go through yield random drops. Cash and silver are a constant earning but you can acquire random components or crafting materials as well. There are also chances to earn additional recruits from battle stages. These will be mostly common crew members, though, whom you will feed to your favorite units to level them up. Given the rate at which the challenge from one stage raises compared to the previous one, you should not always expect to beat each stage on your first go.
Puzzle Heist requires a bit of grinding to earn resources that you need to level up your crew and craft battle items. In this sense, you should expect to run through previously conquered stages a lot of times. The match-3 puzzles in battle are generated at random as well. This means that every battle, even within the same stage, can be very different from your previous experience on it.
3. Let The Goals Serve As Your Guide
As you reach higher levels and as your base camp grows bigger, it can become a little more confusing as to which of the available activities should be prioritized over the rest. Naturally, you can still adhere to engaging in battles within the campaign and upgrading buildings within your camp intermittently while visiting your alliance from time to time and partaking to various alliance activities.
Puzzle Heist provides a set of goals for you to accomplish. You can view these goals by tapping on the goal icon at the upper left side of the home screen. The accomplishment of every goal objective earns you gems, which is a premium currency in the game that is difficult to obtain normally.
As gems are primarily needed to recruit more crew members and rides as well, every opportunity to earn some free gems should not be missed. Additionally, the list of goals available to you largely serve as your guide towards progressing through your adventure.
4. Be Prudent When Upgrading Your Crew
Maintaining a balanced and synergistic teams may seem like a simple idea you can maintain early on without much thought. Simply keeping all colors or elements represented in your crew and switching out lower grade characters with higher ones as they become available are basically what you follow even in the absence of a guide.
The idea becomes a little more complex given that each unit can be upgraded. For one, you need to continuously perform upgrades on your crew to keep up with the growing difficulty of challenges ahead of you. With limitation of resources you need to perform upgrades, though, you will need to be very selective when it comes to upgrading your units. You will largely secure characters between 1 to 3 stars early on. Given that 1-star units are the most common ones, it is almost a given that you should not invest time and resources on them.
Recruiting heroes through either contacts, training, or even as rewards from some battles are all covered by the element of randomness. With luck involved and a system that naturally makes it difficult to obtain higher grade units, you should consider yourself lucky if you net a 3-star crew member early on. In essence, this should be your benchmark when it comes to determining which characters you want to upgrade and which ones will serve as feeds for the others.
The most basic way of enhancing a character is through levelling them up. Levelling up requires sacrificing other crew members to grant XP to the one you want to enhance, along with some cash. You can use any unit to sacrifice when leveling up your favorite crew member. Using units of the same color grants more XP, though.
Another unique feature that comes with Puzzle Heist is that every instance you level up a unit initiates a wheel of fortune feature that grants the unit additional XP. Despite the random element of this feature, you can reroll if you are not satisfied with the percentage of bonus XP you get at the cost of watching a short video ad.
A unit’s star grade determines the character’s maximum level. This means that 1-star units initially have a level cap of 10 while 2-star units have a level cap of 20. Once a unit reaches his or her level cap, you can promote them to the next rank. Note that rank is different from star grade and its effects differ in gravity from one star grade to the next. You will need cash as well as various materials to promote a unit. This will revert a unit’s level back to one but will leave the unit with a higher set of stats than before.
5. There Are No Time Limits In Combat
Conventional puzzle games, especially belonging to the match-3 subgenre, intrinsically impose time limits in every level to add more pressure to the challenge. Consequently, players who have played puzzle games before will naturally be inclined to have a mindset that a similar mechanic applies to all other games sharing the same principles. Puzzle Heist, like all other hybrid match-3 games, fortunately does not impose additional constraints in combat and you take as much time as you need to unleash the best possible moves on your enemies.
Do not get the wrong idea, though, the battles in Puzzle Heist still present a lot of challenges even without time limits imposed on your every move. Without time constraints, though, patience and analysis are given extra value and such opportunities should be taken into full consideration. The puzzle’s layout will almost always provide for more than one option for you to choose from. While there is a probability that both move choices will net practically the same effects, one will more likely be better than the rest.
In this sense, choosing between different move options should not be centered exclusively on the immediate impact of your decision. Rather, you should analyze how one move will affect the rest of the tiles in preparation for your subsequent turns. Relative to this, it is worth noting that tiles move from bottom to top. This means that matching tiles at the upper part of the puzzle will yield more tile reactions and provide more opportunities for combos as well.
6. Do Not Settle For A Match-3 Move All The Time
Relative to the above consideration and Puzzle Heist’s base requirement of matching 3 tiles to launch an attack against your enemies, you should always consider matching 4 or 5 tiles whenever you can to generate special tiles that have special effects. Just like each crew member’s special abilities, though, these special tiles should not necessarily be used immediately and be saved for the best opportunities as much as possible.
Considering to match only 3 tiles become a viable option when there is no possibility of matching higher numbers of tiles. Likewise, matching 3 tiles to launch against an enemy who has elemental weakness against it is a viable option as well. Lastly, there will be instances as well when it becomes more strategically sound to go for a match-3 move. If doing so will result in a combination or is a prep move to match more tiles in your next move, then you should go for that as well.
7. Combos Boost Attack Tremendously
Successfully launching combos has never been as rewarding in loosely similar games in comparison with the combo feature of Puzzle Heist. Being able to match tiles one after another is cool to witness on its own but every combo you make in Puzzle Heist comes with a hugely advantageous incentive.
Matching tiles twice in one move will boost your attack by 10%. Every combo that comes after further raises attack by 10% each time. For example, matching a set of tiles that eventually leads to other tiles matching and earning a 5x combo will ultimately yield you a 40% boost in damage for that move. The damage will reset back to normal on the next move, though.
With this, some patience, and a lot of planning before every move, you can dish out loads of damage on the toughest foes. Depending on the kind of situation you are in, setting up combos can take varying levels of prioritization. Factors such as which enemy will strike next and how many rounds you have left are important to consider as well as how much longer each of your crew members can hold out.
8. Join An Alliance As Soon As Possible
Alliances, faction, guilds, or other similarly-named player groups have been an integral part of online games for a long time, especially ones that provide cooperative gameplay. These in-game feature not only extends the social aspect of the game but also elicit more activity from players and provides additional gameplay features and perks as rewards. Although you can still play and enjoy Puzzle Heist entirely on your own, you should definitely join one if you yearn to become stronger at a faster rate.
For starters, being a member of any alliance provides you an opportunity to cut down on completion times of building upgrades. Once any of the structures within your camp start an upgrade to reach level 4, a call for help is automatically sent to the alliance chat. Up to 3 fellow alliance members can help speed up the upgrade time. In this regard, you should also frequently visit the alliance chat to provide aid to your fellow alliance members.
The Kingpin game mode lets you join in on a unique battle where you and your alliance tries to take down a huge boss. Kingpins are tough and will not be defeated by even the strongest player on his or her own. Do not be disheartened if you do little damage against the kingpin’s minions or the kingpin himself as this is a team battle where every bit of damage you inflict counts. Kingpin battles are timed as well so contrary to the usual battle tips we discussed earlier, this one requires you to think fast and act faster.
Your activities as a member of any alliance can earn you buff tokens. These tokens have no other purpose save to be donated to the alliance for every member to receive buffs. Buffs may be applied to each player’s HQ, kingpin battles, or even war. For guidance, you want to consult with the alliance chat to determine which of the 3 options ought to serve as the priority to expend tokens on.
And that concludes our Puzzle Heist guide. We hope that the tips and strategies we shared will, at least in part, lead to an improvement in your performance as you tackle more puzzles and challenges in your adventure. If you stumbled upon some nifty tricks or strategies on top of what we have covered in our guide, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!