Release Date: 11 October 2018
Price: $14.99 / £13.49
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Tetris is one of the most popular puzzle games ever, with a fun factor and gameplay that’s utterly timeless. I’ve been a big fan of puzzle games that innovate on the Tetris formula and there’s a brand new one from developer WeirdBeard that takes the brick-laying foundation to the next level.
Tricky Towers is a puzzle title that uses Tetris blocks to allow you to build giant towers with the aim of achieving certain goals before it collapses. There’s single-player and multiplayer modes, with up to four players offline and online, with three distinct styles of play.
In single-player you’ll tackle 50 trials and they alternate from level to level with the various styles of each stage. Once you complete a certain number, you’ll unlock more stages of increased difficulty, until you’re able to complete all 50 trials.
This first type of mode is Race, where you have a strict time limit with the goal being to build up your tower towards the finish line in the fastest time possible. You must build the tower high enough and keep it built well for at least three seconds in order to actually complete the goal - no touching the line and then immediately collapsing allowed.
Then there’s Survival mode which gives you three hearts, and you’ll lose one every time a block falls off the screen. There’s a catch though - you must use every block that’s given to you in order to complete the level. There’s also a mode where you have a certain setup predetermined and you’ll get a certain number of blocks that you must use, but you have to pile and build them on a platform that already exists without going above a certain line.
Feel That Tetris Effect
At the beginning of Tricky Towers you’ll be able to select which wizard avatar you want to use for your gameplay and you’ll always be competing against an enemy wizard throwing out blocks during Survival or the puzzle-like elements. The avatars don’t give you any distinct or unique powers and they’re all going to be able to use the various power-ups in a level.
When you’re against the computer, random effects from your opponent will be triggered at certain points, such as when you hit a set number of blocks. These powers make building the tower much more difficult. One effect could see a giant block appear that’s more difficult to place, or it may even be turned to ice making it - and everything else - slip-and-slide all over the show.
While the enemy is throwing dark magic at you though, you can perform light magic spells to help yourself out of trouble. Once you reach a certain line you will unlock a power-up and these are designed to help you, or impede the enemy. One helpful power-up includes being able to turn a block into a plant-like vine block that will wrap its vines around surrounding pieces, making it harder to fall. You may also be able to build secondary platforms that can be a lifesaver when a tower is about to collapse.
Blocks of Fun for Everyone
There are three difficulties you can choose from determining the intensity and frequency of those black magic spells. You’ll have some levels where every single block you end up using has some type of status effect on it. Tricky Towers is by no means easy, and experts of Tetris will have a great time trying to figure out each of the puzzle elements.
Casual players will also have fun playing against each other, and there are many different modifiers to allow for both friendly and cutthroat matches. Single-player can be a frustrating experience, given the frequency of failure. Fortunately, multiplayer is where most of the fun resides and you can play most of the modes in local or online against other players.
Accompanying the on-screen puzzle action is a joyous and upbeat soundtrack that reminded me of Rayman Legends and Origins. The graphics are bright and colorful, providing a lighthearted touch to the otherwise chaotic puzzle solving.
Overall, Tricky Towers is a great puzzle title if you like Tetris-based games or a good party experience. There’s plenty of modes and playing with friends is an absolute blast, making this one of the best party titles on Switch.
Pros & Cons
+ Charming art style and music
+ Plenty of modes to take part in
+ Fun puzzle gameplay
- Doesn’t completely reinvent Tetris
- Single player is somewhat lacking