While most mobile games adhere to a specific genre when it comes to gameplay, some have deviated to consider a combination of 2 or more distinct game mechanics to provide a diverse experience to players, especially those well-versed in a multitude of genres. Just when you thought that all possible gameplay combinations have already been developed and published, 37Games comes up with a peculiar yet sensational amalgam with Puzzles & Survival.
Puzzles & Survival is one of the latest titles from 37Games, which combines base-building MMO strategy game elements with match-3 puzzle mechanics. Confusing and unrelated as it seems, both these popular genres require strategic thinking and while the kind of strategies you can employ on each side of the gameplay is very different from one another, both center around patience and planning as a requisite for better results.
In truth, it is not very common for any person to be avid fans or highly experienced in both gameplay styles as people who typically revel in match 3 puzzles are not likely patrons of base-building games. Puzzles & Survival, however, does not make it a requirement for players to be experts in match-3 puzzle solving or be experienced in MMO strategy games as well.
There are a lot of activities to engage in considering the base-building aspect of Puzzles & Survival alone. To some extent, it can seem overwhelming especially to the inexperienced, but the tutorial that greets you as you jump into the game easy enough for you to secure a firm grasp of the basic mechanics of the game.
If you find yourself stuck in a particular campaign stage, struggling to defend your base against attackers, or simply looking for more efficient means to do better in both base-building and puzzle-solving, then read our Puzzles & Survival beginner’s guide below! We have come up with a comprehensive guide for the game, including tips and strategies to help you build the best base and perform the best puzzle combos!
1. Follow The Chapter Missions
Puzzles & Survival provides players with a plethora of activities to engage in even at the early part of the game. To make it simpler, all the activities you can engage in can be categorized into 3 groups. The first one relate to the growth and development of your base, which includes construction and upgrade of facilities, training various heroes and units, and conducting research to improve every aspect of your performance.
Given that your base of operations is situated in a huge world littered with numerous NPCs, resources, and other players like yourself, venturing out and exploring the unknown is another category. Last, but not the least, is the campaign mode where you progress from one stage and chapter to the next, battling zombies and zombie bosses at every turn. This is where the match-3 puzzle feature of Puzzles & Survival come in.
With numerous tasks spread across each of these categories, although some have prerequisites that delimit your actions, it can be a challenge to decide on which aspect of Puzzles & Survival to prioritize. Fortunately, the game comes with a set of chapter objectives and a recommended quest line that serves as your guide towards an efficient level of progression. You can see the both quests at the lower left side of the screen.
It can happen that a recommended quest will be among the chapter objectives you need to clear and on top of being able to choose which chapter objectives to clear first, you can also deviate from the highlighted quest and perform various activities depending on your preference. Given, however, that some upgrades and features are dependent on the upgrade level of certain structures, adhering to both the chapter objectives and recommended quests are the best option, especially at the start of your adventure.
When it comes to the accomplishment of chapter objectives, you will earn experience points for each task you complete. Accomplishing all tasks for the chapter earns you a set of resources as rewards, which can include hero shards to help you unlock new heroes and strengthen the ones you have. There is a separate set of rewards to obtain after clearing the recommended quests as well and the resources you obtain with each task completed can further hasten your progression.
2. Keep Your Facilities Busy
One of the core determinants of how well you can make progress in any base-building MMO strategy game lies in your ability to multitask. It can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you are a beginner in the genre, but in a bit of time, cycling across each facility and processing queue becomes a routine that anyone can easily manage.
One of the important structures you need to constantly click on are the production facilities. There are various types of these facilities in Puzzles & Survival, each with its own unique resource to produce. The farm produces food needed to train units. The lumber mill produces wood, which is a basic resource needed for buildings. The virology lab is essentially unique as it produces antiserum needed by your heroes to level up.
Later on, a steel plant and gas field will become available as well. Each of these structures produce basic resources by the minute and their level relates to how much they can produce and hold. You can choose to claim resources any time but it is best to not leave them at max capacity.
Next up are training facilities that provide you with troops. The trap factory is essentially similar to the training structures and produces traps to help defend you base from attacks. Upgrading these facilities will enable you to train or produce higher grade units, tremendously your overall power.
The research facility is unlike other structures that provide you with a single type of product in the form of military units or basic resources. The research center is a little more critical in the sense that you can choose on which aspect of warfare you would want to invest in first. Research options are divided across 4 different aspects namely: development, economy, military, and fortification. Each one is important and will lead to an advantage but some will have to be prioritized over others, especially since you can only lodge 1 research at a time.
Development relates to the basic functions of your camp like construction, research, and training, which makes it the most important option to invest in at the early part of the game. Economy can also boost your performance early on as every bit of research on it improves the production and harvest of basic resources. A more enticing option would be the military tree, given that its focus is on your army’s strength. With a peace barrier early on, though, you can save this for later just before you ready yourself for battle. Fortification is like the other end of military and focuses instead on the defensive strength of your wall, traps, and defenders.
Beyond the structures, the most important aspect of base-building that you need to constantly keep running is the builder, which is your means of constructing and upgrading structures within your base. By default, you will only have 1 builder and each new upgrade takes a lot more time to complete. You can purchase an extra builder for a day and the first one is free, so be sure to take advantage of it and continuously utilize it as best as you can.
One dichotomous choice to consider is whether to go for construction and upgrades that complete faster or those lined up in the quest line but takes a lot more time to complete. In some cases, some upgrades will be dependent on the level of other buildings, which leaves less choices on what to build or upgrade next. For best results, it is best to consider 1 builder for long constructions and the other for quicker ones. If you have to leave the game, then that would be the best time to consider construction queues that take a while to complete.
3. Be Selective When Enhancing Heroes
One unique element of Puzzles & Survival comes with its heroes, especially in comparison with heroes of other MMO strategy games. Each hero in the game comes with a unique ability as well as an elemental affinity similar to that of strategy RPG characters. These different elements relate to how quickly they can use their special skills in the match-3 puzzle combat of the campaign and how effectively they can defend against other player teams in the arena.
Heroes have different rarity grades as well from 2 to 5 stars. You will have a set of 2 and 3 star heroes to begin with and have a random chance of securing more from Noah’s Tavern. Naturally, securing 4 or 5-star heroes will not be an easy feat but, to begin, with, the 2 and 3-star heroes you have can still manage to pull you through the challenges in the campaign.
What is important to consider is the elemental affinity each member of your team has and going for a team with each member representing a color or element is the way to go. This is because you will challenge enemy zombies and players sporting different colors as well and each puzzle you will go through will surely have each color represented. Given that matching gems are the source of energy for heroes to use their skills in combat, what you would want is to ensure that each match-3 you make will empower one of your heroes.
Given the scarcity of heroes early on, you should consider upgrading the ones you have enough to deal with the challenges at hand. Once you have secured a higher rarity hero, you can swap him or her in your team and refrain from expending resources on the hero you no longer use.
Levelling heroes up is the most basic way of making them stronger. You need the unique resource antiserum to level up heroes although once they reach their level cap. You will need to evolve them first to increase the level cap. Evolution requires combat manuals, which are sourced from battling through story stages and chapters in the campaign.
Obtaining duplicate heroes from the gacha is not a waste at all as you will need extra shards of specific heroes to enhance them and boost their stats. At the hero page, which you can access through its icon on the lower left side of the screen, be sure to check on the active skills and passive buffs as knowing what your heroes can specifically do will help you strategize better in the match-3 puzzle battles ahead.
4. Take As Much Time As You Need In Battles
Most puzzle games are tied up to a timer to pressure players into making simple errors of judgement with every move they make. The match-3 puzzle feature within Puzzles & Survival can be even more threatening considering the mobs of zombies ahead of you readying their attack with each passing turn.
As imposing as the sights may be, there really is no need to rush into making a move in combat, as there are no time limits to worry about. Having this mindset leaves little to no room for pressure so you can take as much time as you need to sort out the best possible moves, combos, and preps on each turn.
In contrast with typical match-3 puzzle games, matched gems that fire away at the zombies are replaced by gems from the bottom area of the puzzle instead of the top. This is an important factor consider in some scenarios as there will be instances when two or more possible moves will have the same effect.
As gems move upwards, choosing to match gems closer to the top of the puzzle have higher chances of triggering unexpected combos as more gems will be moving about. This does not necessarily mean that it is always advantageous, as you will sometimes need to hold off on powerful combos for the next wave of zombies or the boss at the last stretch.
5. Strategize Around Puzzle Combos And Hero Skills
Matching 4 or more gems together to unlock special tiles like the grenade and dynamite can certainly help you out in dishing more damage against the enemies. Similarly, being familiar with each of your heroes’ skill can also enable you to defeat enemies outside of matching gems. The more important part of surviving campaign stages and defeating players in the arena rely more on how you utilize these powers and abilities.
Eliminating enemies, regardless of how you go about it, is naturally the basic objective in every battle. For efficiency’s sake, however, utilizing each special ability within your arsenal to its best require strategic planning and timing to get the best results. In every stage, for example, the first wave of zombies are always the weakest of the bunch. A few hits of gem matches should suffice to eliminate them quickly enough without even using the grenade effects, gem combinations, or your heroes’ abilities.
As your heroes charge up their abilities with every match of gems you achieve, it is sometimes necessary to match gems even if it will not deal damage to any enemy in front. Likewise, choosing a less flashy move to prep the remaining gems for a bigger combo should also be considered. Saving as many of the heroes’ special skills for the boss battle is recommended. Between doing so and healing everyone to ensure they make it to end of the stage is an exception, though.
6. Join An Alliance As Soon As You Can
Guilds, factions, clans, and alliances are almost synonymous with online games, most especially MMORGs and MMO strategy games. While in some cases, being in an alliance unlocks extra features and becomes a source of additional rewards, the importance of joining one in Puzzles & Survival is crucial to your survival.
Fortunately enough, you will be able to join an alliance almost as soon as you start diving into the world of Puzzles & Survival. Finding the right alliance simply means finding an active enough alliance with a lot of members. In case you have yet to venture into looking for an alliance yourself, it may happen that you will receive an invite from a newly created one.
There are a lot of benefits to earn from simply being a member of an alliance but, for the most part, what you can gain from one relates largely on how active you are. For starters, being an alliance can help cut down queue times in construction, training, and research. As soon as you start any of these activities, you can tap on the icon atop the structure to ask your fellow alliance members for assistance. Each ally who chooses to send aid will cut down queue time for each of your pending processes.
In a similar manner, you should also keep tabs on the appearance of the help icon at the lower right side of your screen. Tapping on it send you to the alliance help page and you can choose to send help to all alliance members with a click of a button.
Regularly visiting the alliance tech to donate resources for your alliance’s growth is also among the regular duties you should accomplish. Unlike in most strategy games where there are hard limits for daily contributions; Puzzles & Survival makes it so that you can continue to make donations after a short cooldown period.
Be sure to always check the alliance window whenever indicators appear as there are various activities you can partake in as an alliance member. As soon as you feel that you will be staying with an alliance long, you should choose to relocate your base to the alliance territory.
7. Accomplish Quests For Extra Rewards
The rate at which you can generate and gather resources depend largely on the effort you exert in multitasking and strategizing around upgrades and ventures. As the resources you need consistently grows with each new level your base meets, you will constantly need more than just the outright resources you obtain out of your own effort.
As we mentioned earlier, completing the chapter objectives and following the quest line can earn you tons of extra resources. Beyond those, however, Puzzles & Survival provides more quests that provide you with even more rewards. You can easily view all available quests via its icon at the lower left side of the screen, and the recommended quest is just a small fraction of the main quests that you can accomplish.
All quests are categorized under the main quests and daily quests. The third tab reflects the points you earn for every daily quest you accomplish and, along every fellow alliance member’s points, can earn rewards for you and your guild mates. Both quest types relate to the usual activities you should engage in as you play the game and can serve as your guide as well to look into areas you may have missed.
The main quests serve as milestones that indicate your overall level of progress across various aspects of the game. Some objectives within the list naturally take time to accomplish and, in some cases, unlock higher tier objectives after accomplishing the current one. The daily quest objectives, on the other hand, are much easier to complete as these tasks relate more to the most basic activities you need to do following a routine.
Instead of simply visiting the quest menu whenever there is an indicator on it; make it a habit to check the list of quests to ensure that every goal within reach will be achieved as the extra resources you can obtain from it will go a long way.
8. Expend Stamina In The Outside World
Puzzles & Survival actually incorporates both an energy system and a stamina system to delimit some of your actions. You need energy to take on campaign stages while stamina is consumed whenever your troops are deployed outside your camp. As you are most likely busy managing your base and multitasking to the limit to ensure an efficient level of growth and progression, it is possible that you might forget about the adventures and explorations waiting to be discovered in the world map.
Although you can generate basic resources within your base, securing more from the outside world as well as scouting for threats and potential targets, form part of the regular activities you should engage in Puzzles & Survival. One of the earlier activities you will be introduced to is taking out NPCs scattered across the map. These NPCs have very visible levels attached to their icon and you should take on the lowest levels first before proceeding to tackle the next one.
Various resource spots are available on the world map as well where you can deploy your troops to gather as much basic materials as they can carry. In time, these resource spots replenish their supply. Take note that even if you have your truce shields on, your troops are vulnerable to attack once they move outside your base.
Zombie Lairs are much more challenging to take on than other NPC enemies. Assaulting one is best done in a rally and you should time ventures into it whenever a lot of fellow alliance members are online and available for a rally. Large amounts of antiserum can be earned from Zombie Lairs so one successful raid on it will help you level up your heroes to some extent.
9. Ready Your Defense Before Attacking
It may happen that your peace shields run out before you are ready to join the fray. One thing consistent across all strategy RPGs is that player bases with no shields are an attractive target for active players all around. Some events can grant you items that can replenish your shields for a short period of time and you can also purchase the same using diamonds. What you should take note of, though is that even if you still have time left for the shields to stay up, it will instantly vanish if you attack or even scout another player’s base.
While you may already be itching to test your mettle against the defenses of another player’s camp, be sure to make the necessary preparations first before you start to engage in skirmishes. What you should always assume is that once you attack a player, especially one belonging to an alliance, there will be a retaliation.
There may be inactive players around your camp that seem like easy targets as well. Make it a habit to not judge based on their base level as it is also possible for players with a lower level camp to exhibit more military power than you.
Within your base, what you need to ensure is that your current warehouse level is sufficient to store all your basic resources. Anything in excess of what you can store in the warehouse can and will be plundered by another player if they defeat your base. Be sure to deploy heroes as defenders of your wall as well.
Hopefully, you have already migrated close to where fellow alliance members are before you begin to plan an attack against another player. Regardless of the target camp’s level, always choose to scout ahead as the camp may have much higher power than you expect. Likewise, make sure as well that your attack is worth it considering the amount of resources you can plunder from the camp.
10. Check Your Bag Often
If you still manage to have idle time inside your camp as you wait for queues to finish, chances are that you will be busy expending energy on the campaign, stamina on rollouts, or both. With a lot of features and icons to look into as well, you are likely to forget checking the resources you have amassed within your bag.
For the most part, you are likely only to consume basic resources and speed ups when you immediately need to. There are some items within your inventory that you probably did not even know you have. A lot of these items, however, are best used sooner or later, while some can change your plans and strategy as soon as you know what the item does.
For starters, there are consumable items that grant you instant commander EXP. If you click on your avatar at the upper left side of the screen, you can find the commander info, which includes a talent page where you allocate points for permanent boosts to economy or military aspects of your base. Earning commander EXP and reaching new commander levels can earn you more talent points. As such you should consume instant commander EXP items in your inventory as soon as you find one.
Some events and quest rewards also include rare or expensive buffs that can help you in a variety of way. Examples of this are items that reactivate your peace shield or transport you to a different location. With the plethora of rewards you can earn from various sources, it is possible to miss seeing these items as you acquire them. Be sure to spend some time to browse through your bag and read through the description of unfamiliar items you come across with as you can plan and strategize better knowing more about the items at your disposal.
And that wraps up our Puzzles & Survival beginner’s guide. There are other features in the game left for you to explore beyond what we discussed but we are certain that the tips and strategies we shared in our guide will suffice to give you an idea of how to deal with any challenge that comes your way. If you have spent as much time as we did in Puzzles & Survival, and chanced upon a trick or strategy we have not mentioned in our guide, do not hesitate to let us know about it through the comment area!