When Tetrominos collide.
Have you ever played Jenga? You know, that game where you have to remove blocks from a tall stack, without toppling the whole stack over? Well, Tricky Towers is a little bit like that; but instead of removing blocks, you’re stacking them. And instead of blocks, it’s Tetrominos.
It’s a real simple idea. Tetromino style blocks fall from the sky, and the main object of the game is to stack as many as you can on top of one another, without the tower losing balance and falling over. Of course, there is a little more to it than that, but that’s the main crux of the game.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Multiplayer: Local and Online
Price I’d pay: $14.99
Now this may make it sound like some sort of Tetris rip-off, but there is far more to than that. First of all, if players accidentally misplace a Tetromino in Tetris, then it isn’t always a big issue, and players will often be able to recover from it. In Tricky Towers, even the smallest of errors will have towers falling down in seconds. Not only does it encourage forward thinking gameplay, where thinking two or three moves ahead can pay dividends; but because even the slight misplacement makes a difference, the game has a really risk versus reward mechanic when it comes to playing with other people. Do I try and get ahead of the opponent by slamming down blocks, but risk making a mistake, or take it nice and slow and risk losing ground. There’s a surprising amount of depth for a game that’s main focus is battling friends and having fun.
There are three main modes in Tricky Towers, a single player element and both local and online multiplayer modes. Single player mode offers up two types of gameplay, a trial mode and an endless mode; both being exactly what they sound like. Trial mode offers up 50 separate challenges for players to ace, and also acts as a way to get used to the different types of game modes available in multiplayer. And endless mode is, well, endless and has three game types; puzzle, race and survival. It also has a leader board that tracks progress against both friends and other players from around the world. Single player certainly offers enough for any player to hop in and out of and get a little enjoyment. But it doesn’t compare to playing the multiplayer modes. The game just didn’t offer the same satisfaction when I was playing local multiplayer, and as a result, it just wasn’t as much fun.
The multiplayer modes are, however, an absolute blast, especially local play. Players can play with up to three other people and the customization options are plentiful. It offers up the three different game modes that are available in single player, as well as different difficulty settings that can add all sorts of modifiers to make your life more difficult. Players can also select from just a single match to an 18 point tournament.
With each mode all players are pitted against each other; either to race to a certain height, survive as long as possible without dropping bricks or arrange the most bricks within a predetermined area. Race is without a doubt the best multiplayer mode, with the game handing out power-ups that will either aid in the building quest, or hinder the other players. Firing off one of these at friends and watching their fragile creation fall to bits is immensely satisfying, and will definitely lead to some heated exchanges. Survival can also get very interesting when the game throws things like high winds into the mix, making it seem impossible for all players. It’s amazing how much can be had by something so simple.
Playing local multiplayer with friends is where Tricky Towers comes alive, which is a good thing, as playing with strangers online is a difficult task, simply because there aren’t that many people playing the game. Find a match took way too long, and mostly ended up with me backing out and playing a different mode. If you do find a match online, players can expect the same kind of experience as local, just without the risk of losing real friends.
I must also take the time to mention that the game offers microtransactions in the form of skins for the bricks and character models. These aren’t that expensive, ranging from 99c to $2.99; but it would have been nice if these were available as unlockables, instead of being locked behind a pay wall.
Tricky Towers is a party game first and foremost, best played with friends. Grab some extra controllers and have hours of fun trying to knock the bricks out of your mates. The ease in which your friends will be able to grasp the mechanics is Tricky Tower’s greatest asset, and it is worth the asking price alone.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.