Empires & Puzzles might seem like a simple Match-3 release, but the developers at Small Giant Games have taken this genre one step further by adding RPG and base-building elements to the mix. The result is more addictive than you’d think, especially since it gives players more room to strategize before and during every “battle”.
Of course, with new features come new challenges, so the game might take some getting used to for fresh players. For example, if you’re not familiar with Gacha and hero upgrade mechanics, you’ll have to learn a thing or two before you can truly shine in combat. To help you out, we’ve put together the 10 most useful tips and tricks for beginners.
1. The AutoPlay Function Is Sometimes Good Enough
You probably think that the AI built into Empires & Puzzles can’t handle your typical Match-3 “battle”. For the most part, you’re right, because the AI is as silly as it gets. It will match 3 crystals when a combo of 4 is possible, it won’t use any elemental advantages, and it will usually fail to activate hero abilities at an appropriate moment. Even so, the AutoPlay function is still good enough to clear most missions.
This, unfortunately, says quite a bit about the difficulty of Empires & Puzzles, in general. Thankfully, the game is not all easy. Once you leave the first 3-5 chapters behind, you’ll find yourself taking control of your characters more often. Until then, no harm in delegating.
2. Always Equip Your Strongest Troops
It’s fairly obvious that higher rarity and higher level heroes are better, but did you notice that each hero in your team features a squad of units that can also be improved? Whenever you use the standard pull at the Summoning Gate, you can obtain either a hero or a unit.
Once you find a better unit for a particular color, don’t forget to swap them in during your next combat. The game won’t prompt you to make the switch, so if you notice that your DPS is starting to lag behind, remember that better units can fix this issue for you.
3. Compare Special Skills to Decide on a Hero
When you have multiple heroes of the same color, it’s a good idea to compare their special skills before you pick one for your core team. Upgrades in Empires & Puzzles are very costly, so you should only boost a hero once you’re certain that you will use them for some time.
In addition to the nature of a hero’s special skill, you should also consider the amount of damage it does, as well as the hero’s HP and the speed with which they recover their mana.
4. Create and Use Battle Items
A variety of battle items – from health and mana potions to revival scrolls, buffs, and cures – can be created inside the Forge. The building is unlocked early in the game, so feel free to upgrade it as soon as possible to unlock better items.
Although items are more or less unnecessary during the first few chapters, they become indispensable during later missions and especially in boss fights. The AI will not consume your battle items on AutoPlay.
5. Build the Watchtower Early
The Watchtower is located on a perch to the right side of your main castle building. Once rebuilt, the tower unlocks the PvP mode of Empires & Puzzles, which is not only more entertaining than the game’s PvE storyline, but also more rewarding.
You can construct the Watchtower very early in the game and should do so as soon as possible. The faster you gain access to PvP, the faster you can accumulate more resources and upgrade your heroes.
6. Take Advantage of Enemy Weaknesses
All enemies are stronger against certain elements and weaker against others. At the moment, there are 5 elements in the game and each is linked with a certain color: Fire, for example, is activated with Red gems; it’s stronger against Earth (Green) units, but weaker against Water (Blue) ones. Light (Yellow) and Darkness (Purple) form a separate pair and cancel each other out.
If possible, match gems so that you attack specific units with an element to which they are vulnerable. Especially in PvP, this strategy will pay off in spades.
7. Join an Alliance
Once you hit player level 4, you gain the ability to choose and join an Alliance. Playing with others is always more fun than playing alone, but the most important reason why you should join an Alliance is to tackle Titans.
These giant bosses are incredibly difficult to beat and must be attacked by multiple players throughout the day. If your alliance is able to take down a titan, however, you and every other participant receive a generous reward!
8. Complete Wanted Missions
As soon as you unlock your base after the first couple of missions, a small chest will appear on the left side of your screen. Inside it, you will find everything from gems to food, iron, and a variety of upgrade materials, but opening it can be challenging.
There are three types of chests, each with a unique requirement. Monster chests will ask you to kill a fixed number of monsters during PvE missions, whereas Hero chests will ask you to kill a number of heroes during PvP raids, and Titan chests will require you to deal a certain amount of damage to a Titan.
9. Keep a Steady Flow of Heroes
There are two ways to obtain new heroes in Empires & Puzzles. The first is to pull them from the Summoning Portal, which you can do a few times a day for free, but which will otherwise require premium currency purchased with real money.
The second way is to train heroes at the Training Camp using Food and recruits that you find during missions. Unfortunately, you’ll only have access to 1-star heroes in your original Training Camp and you’ll have to spend a generous amount of resources to upgrade the camp and research new training methods before you can train better heroes.
10. Take Care of Your Home Base
If only to ensure that you are constantly training new heroes and troops, you should always strive to improve your home base with new buildings and upgrades. Neglecting your base means that you won’t generate as many resources or be able to craft better battle items to progress in the game. Just make sure that your builder is always busy and you’ll be on your way to a powerful army in no time.
Empires & Puzzles is not a very F2P-friendly game, which is why every step you take during the early game is so important. Follow the tips and tricks that we’ve described above and you won’t have to worry about making a mistake you can no longer repair!