Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.
“The following is a contributor post by the Midnight Mystic Mage.”
I would like to start off by thanking The Well-Red Mage, Game-Drive, and the developers WeirdBeard for providing a review copy of this game. This is a very special occasion, however! They have also provided the means for us to give away a copy of the game coinciding with this review. Stay tuned and we will let you know how you can get yourself entered for a chance to win a code for Tricky Towers on Steam!
***The Well-Red Mage is going to make an announcement on Twitter and select a winner at random, all you have to do is like his tweet and/or this article here on WordPress (you can double your chances that way), so follow him there and look out for the tweet! A winner will be selected from the likers and announced on Wednesday at 6pm Pacific time.
Tricky Towers is an interesting take on an old classic. The basic idea is that you are playing Tetris but there are a bunch of pesky physics involved, which can make things more than a bit frustrating at times. There are a variety of game modes that you can choose from and I personally think that no matter which one you are playing it is always better in versus mode where you are taking on a friend. During versus mode, you are able to use different sabotages on your opponent that will make their gameplay much more difficult, and more fun for both of you.
You can do various sabotages that make it harder to see where your blocks are going, such as the smokescreen and the growing of a large brush that obstructs the field of vision. There are also a few of them that mess with the block the player is trying to place. These include the balloon which attaches and makes the block slow down significantly (which is especially troublesome during a race), the one that changes the block into different immovable objects which take strange shapes such as pianos, another which places chains on the players block and prevents it from spinning in a different direction, and finally the sabotage that causes the player’s block to grow into a massive version of the same block they have at the time of the sabotage.
Of course, you are able to play in a single player mode as well and there are two ways that you can do that, trials or endless. The trials are where you go through the different stages and try to beat enough levels to move onto the next page of levels. Once you have beaten the number that unlocks the page you are able to scroll through and try to find the ones that suit you best so that you can move on once again. These get tougher and tougher as time goes on, presenting quite the challenge along the way. There is also the endless mode which allows you to play until you are finally vanquished, each time trying to improve upon your record and climb up the leaderboard.
Another way that people seem to love to play the game is in online mode. I actually have not yet played it this way but I assume that it is much like the two player versus mode which is thoroughly enjoyable.
There are the puzzle, race, and survival game modes that you are able to choose between and you can play these all in endless, trials, versus, or online whichever one tickles your fancy. I personally enjoyed the puzzle mode the most and felt that I was able to advance with that mode more than the others. Puzzle mode is where a line appears shortly above where you have to make the blocks land and you have to figure out the best way to squeeze them all underneath without touching the line. You are able to see which blocks are coming next on the side but it can be quite the struggle trying to figure out what you need to do differently to make the pieces fit. It isn’t alway pretty, because of the physics causing blocks to fall in strange ways and sit crooked, but sometimes you can get it done even with these kinds of problems being present.
The race mode is my most feared enemy in this game, it is just by far the hardest for me to accompish. The idea of this one is pretty simple, you try to beat the moving line to the top of the screen by stacking blocks while you are being sabotaged along the way (this happens during all modes I might add). So the idea may sound simple, but achieving it is most certainly not. Blocks get to falling in all directions, panic sets in, you begin to rush yourself, and alas, the blasted line has beaten you to the top again. I guess I am just better at stacking the blocks all across the base and taking a slower methodical approach to my tower, which actually comes in handy with our next and final mode that does not have to do with how quickly you are able to stack the blocks.
Survival mode! It is survival of the fittest stackers in this mode where it is not a race but a slow and deliberate climb. Each time you lose a block or a few blocks at once you will be rewarded with a strike, and much like in the sport of my beloved hometown Houston Astros, 3 strikes and you’re out (at the oooooold baaall game)! So let’s be real, the reason I prefer the puzzle and survival modes are probably mostly due to the fact that I beat my wife at them while she repeatedly creamed me at the race mode. Well, not entirely due to this but I am sure that it had a bit of an effect of my impression of each. Survival was, like the puzzle mode, one where you are able to try and plan out your attack and go at your own pace to a certain extent, compared to the feverish pace you seemingly have to keep up with during the race mode.
The 8-bit Review
The visuals are very fun and cheerful. You are able to choose from different characters and blocks that correspond to your favorite holiday. It is a very family friendly and enjoyable puzzle game that is visually appealing for all ages. I also believe judging by looking at some screenshots from their older game, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy, they have made many vast improvements visually with Tricky Towers. Again, only judging by the screenshots I have seen of their previous game, it appears to be very similar to Tricky Towers. You stack bricks in a huge enormous tower in much the same way. I believe that maybe they perfected what they really wanted to do with the initial game in their latest installment, and it really is an incredibly polished and well put together puzzle game.
This area is a solid 7 and I only knocked it down a few notches because it gets a bit repetitive even with the many different ways that you are able to play. The gameplay itself is very innovative and fun to play around with, especially when others are playing along with you. I found that when I played myself I really could only enjoy the game in short bursts, but that is not to say that I did not enjoy it when I did play. It is perfect when you need a short distraction from the hustle and bustle of everyday life but you do not have all the time that you might need to sit down and play The Witcher or something longer and more involved like that.
This is probably the most enticing feature of this game, in my humble opinion. My wife and I were laughing our heads off while sabotaging each other and playing until the kids began screaming their heads off to be put to bed. I hooked a controller up to the computer for my wife, while I stayed with the good ol’ mouse and keyboard. Oh yeah, I totally beat her by the way guys, so now I can publicly diss her on that point. I think I am going to make her read this one so that I can push the issue and get a rematch in the works. The set up of this game just works perfectly when playing with a friend and if you are going to check this game out, or you happen to be the lucky winner of our giveaway, I highly recommend that you play with a friend somehow or possibly give the online play a shot.
Family Friendliness: 10/10
Tricky Towers is undoubtedly a joy for all ages, there is nothing even remotely questionable in the area of family friendliness. As soon as your kids are able to understand how to play, you should feel free to go ahead and let them loose with it and I am sure it would be hours of fun for them, especially if they are able to sabotage each other and play in the versus mode. I would say the only age restriction needing to be put on this game is the ability to play without chewing off the thumbsticks or pulling out the keys from the keyboards. Everybody without kids is probably wondering what I am even talking about, just wait… Just wait.
Very easy to jump right into, especially for those of us who grew up with Tetris. Its physics-based gameplay is easy to catch onto, if not a bit annoying at times while you do adjust. I joke about the physics, but it is a very creative idea and it can make for some very funny looking stacks of blocks when one doesn’t quite land the way you were hoping or it falls because of the weight being too far off balance. Definitely do not go into this trying to stack these things like regular Tetris blocks, I think that is the best advice I can give to new players.
Boy Howdy (I can say that, I’m from Texas), does this game get pretty difficult the more that you dive into it. As most games do, it starts off fairly easy and deceives you into thinking that it is going to be a cake walk. That is most definitely not the case the further that you get into the trials or the longer that you begin to last in the endless mode. The puzzles begin to feel next to impossible and the sabotages become much more prevalent which makes each trial incredibly hard to accomplish.
The multiplayer mode of this game takes the replay value and brings it all the way up. Any game that you can sit around and play with a friend while laughing your head off will always be one that you can go back to and play again in the future. There are so many games that we will complete, move past, and never go back to play again. A game like this though that really reaches into that experience of being together and enjoying some time with each other will always give you a reason to come back later and pick it back up for a good time.
My Personal Grade: 8/10
It’s a fantastic puzzle game and is right up there with some of the best in the genre. Maybe not at the top of that list for me personally, but it is really a top notch piece of work and I believe it would be great fun for anybody who gave it a try. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about writing a long-form review about a straight up puzzle game, but when you are talking about something that brought you as much joy and entertainment as this game did for me, it really just opens up the floodgates and allows you to share that experience to let others know what makes the game so fun. As always I would love to hear all of your experiences with this game, what you liked, didn’t like, or just anything you have to say about the topic in general. Please chat it up with me below and like this article and/or Red’s tweet to enter into the chance to win your very own copy of Tricky Towers on Steam!
Aggregated Score: 8.6
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Categories: Game Review