Master of Craft has arrived in iOS, and if this reviewer is any judge, it’ll be the next most addictive social sim of the summer.  Adorable medieval/fantasy style characters trot around a 3D town that the player is building and maintaining via their weaponsmithing business.  The little frontier town is in desperate need of industry and protection from monsters, so what better place for a blacksmith to set up shop and build a tiny empire?

Don’t get us wrong though—there’s no Game of Thrones level conflict happening here.  It’s mainly crafting gear, selling things in the shop, upgrading buildings, buying out fruit stands, and saving up for vanity items.  When you do fight, the combat is mostly automated, and it’s a troop of cute little soldiers fighting cute little monsters.  Master of Craft doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s one of its major charms.

The interface will take literally no time to learn for anyone who’s played any town simulation, but for those who haven’t, the opening tutorial is fun, comprehensive and clear.  The game also points out how to go about handling those tasks which aren’t usual for a town sim, including building a dungeon team, equipping them, and running dungeons.  While there’s plenty of action on screen, including cutesy little HP bars, the only responsibility the player has during a dungeon is hitting the three cool down ability buttons (once every fifteen seconds).  The real work goes into the preparation—making sure your little fighters have epic weapons, a responsibility perfectly in tune with your role as a weaponsmith.

The best part about this little free to play sim is that it is genuinely free to play.  Yes, there’s an app store, and you can purchase gold and gems.  However, it’s entirely unnecessary to do so in order to do well in the game.  While gems will help you get around the time constraints, there’s really no reason to rush things, because there’s a pretty low threshold for opening up new activities.

Creating low level materials in one of your production mills isn’t costly, nor are the low level basic weapons you sell in your shop (and they don’t take long to make).  These generate activity points, which allow you to run dungeons and get rare materials. There are even extra rewards periodically for running dungeons.

Master of Craft doesn’t try to bore you into spending more money, which is a nice change of pace.  That said, this reviewer has little doubt that as the game gains popularity, there will be real-money vanity items in the shop, but that’s what in-app shops should be about, not paying to be able to progress, period (I’m looking at you, Candy Crush).

The visual and audio elements of the game have a strong 90’s “RPG town” nostalgia about them.  Not in terms of sophistication—this little modeled 3D world is more than on par with its contemporary competition.  Old school gamers and younger gamers who like classic games alike will appreciate the “visiting town” feel of Master of Craft, though.  Of course, in Master of Craft you actually live in town and only visit the outside—but it’s a nice way to turn the RPG genre on its head, too!

Master of Craft is available now in the iTunes App Store, and it costs you nothing to try out, so give it a shot.  It’s an addictive little game that’s almost certainly going to be clogging your Facebook notifications up with gift requests before too long, so why not get started early (and get as much loot as possible)?

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