Ah, anchors: the first real obstacle you’ll face in the game, and the bane of your existence for the rest of it. At first blush, dropping an anchor to the bottom of the screen seems pretty simple, but it’s never quite that easy.
When I first wrote about Two Dots obstacles, I ranked anchors as the third-worst — not because it’s hard to drop them, but because as you advance the game conspires against you to make it nigh-impossible to clear them off the screen. They’re often locked in place by one-sided blocks or other blockers, or the game just refuses to give you enough of them. It’s super-disheartening to look at the top of the screen after clearing off all the slime or ice and realize “oh, shit, I still have to get six anchors!” If their appearance was truly randomized in the dropping process, that would be one thing, but there are literally dozens of levels where the computer only gives you one anchor on the screen at a time. Twenty moves, ten anchors, one on the screen at a time, and sometimes there’s a “grace period” of one move (or more) between the removal of one anchor and the appearance of another.
Truthfully, I think the best strategy is to save the anchors for last, unless:
- There’s fire or monsters, which can destroy anchors without crediting you for clearing them.
- The anchors are trapped somewhere, in which case you have to get them out as fast as possible — because if you don’t the game won’t give you anymore.
- There’s a chance of the anchors getting trapped above a wild that is locked in place.
- The anchors are in a part of the board where you can’t get squares — such as when two columns are set apart on either side. Clear those guys out as soon as it’s advantageous.
Otherwise, focus on the other obstacles first. Many of them can destroy anchors — balls, clouds, gems, and magnets, especially. (Oh, and by the way, clouds and magnets often follow the “only one on the screen at a time” rule. The later levels in the magnet zone only give you four, and they’re never where you need them to be.)
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