Tricky Towers


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Complete Review & Description

Literally everyone in the free world has played a block stacking game at some point in their lives. Seriously, you find me someone over the age of five that hasn’t played Tetris or one of its clones, I dare you. I’ll wait here. Couldn’t do it could you? Anyway, Tricky Towers appears to be one of those clones at first glance, but there’s more at play here than just blocks on blocks.

This isn’t the first foray into the brick stacking genre for Dutch developer WeirdBeard Games, who stole my heart with their name alone. Their mobile game 99 Bricks Wizard Academy was well received when it came out in 2014, and Tricky Towers builds (ha) on that success.

On a basic level, it’s not a hard game to figure out. You choose the most adorable/badass wizard character you want, and stack blocks to complete challenges. It’s the nuances that make it interesting. There are puzzle modes, each with its own surprising twists. Stack a set set of blocks under a certain height or you’ll get blasted by a laser, race your opponent by building a taller tower faster, build a tower with a certain number of blocks; all of these are fun and challenging..

Spells are what really set it apart, and where the true innovation lies. Divided into Light magic (helping) and Dark magic (hindering), they add a depth to gameplay that would otherwise quickly become boring. Light magic lets you cement bricks in place and gain a sturdier base, or bind them together to share the weight, while Dark magic makes opponent’s last bricks float and disrupt them, or makes their next shape giant and unwieldy. These mechanics are made for multiplayer, but add a quirkiness to the single player mode as well.

My copy had no multiplayer function, so I battled through the single player challenges until I hated everything, but I also learned quite a bit. First off, physics are very important here; you can’t just stack bricks everywhere willy-nilly like other games, because weight and impact play huge roles in your construction process. So many times I’d see what I thought was a sturdy stack teeter slowly and inexorably towards the left, ruining all my plans and making me restart the level. Other times the actual impact of a block landing would be the proverbial straw, sending my construct tumbling into ruins.

Despite the fact that you’ll lose a lot, there’s no consequence, as the game has retained a lot of its mobile roots. No staring at a loading screen for us; we can jump right back in to fail again. Make no mistake, you will fail again, because this is a hard game. Even veteran puzzlers will find it punishing, and I’m not one of them; I walked away more than once. But even through my frustration and hatred of physics engines, I loved it. The visuals are cute, cartoony, and crisp, the sound fits perfectly and, while there’s no great plot or message behind it, Tricky Towers is basically good clean fun.

Tricky Towers doesn’t shy away from the comparison to Tetris, but embraces and expands upon it. No, it’s not the most innovative game in the world, but it’s extremely playable. If you’re the sort of person who thrives on challenge modes and testing your puzzle abilities to the limits, this is something you’ll truly love.

Will it hold my attention for years? No. Will it hold my attention for the rest of the week? You know what, probably not. It’s a great game, but by no means a classic, and I can see it being very forgettable. That being said, it’s definitely better than any Tetris inspired game I’ve ever played and, if I’m being totally honest, I actually prefer it to Tetris.

It’s a real shame my review copy didn’t include the multiplayer, because that genuinely seems like the most fun you could have with a game like this. The chance to stop your friend’s carefully crafted tower just at the right moment, and ruin your friendship as with so many party games before, is what Tricky Towers was made for. As a solo experience, it just can’t hold your attention for too long, at least not on a console.

I definitely recommend picking it up if you’re looking for a puzzler or a party game, or even if you’re not and you’re just bored for the weekend; there’s far worse out there. Myself, I’m going to finish the last couple of puzzles I couldn’t get through, because while the game itself may be forgettable, my failure won’t be.



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