Thursday, October 11

Review: Tricky Towers [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s nothing quite like a solid competitive game to play against a friend that will test your skills while providing ample opportunity to troll and screw each other over along the way. The first game I remember having that thrill playing was Tetris back on my GameBoy so I perhaps have a bit of added enthusiasm for Tricky Towers. Using Tetris and its iconic pieces as a sort of base, but then throwing a tower building and balancing element into the mix as well as some spells that will help you out or screw over your opponent it is a real breath of fresh air and a lot of fun on Switch.

Where Tetris is all about precision, you’ll quickly find in Tricky Towers that your goals are a bit less rigidly defined. While you could opt, at least for a short time, to build your towers with every piece locking into the other perfectly, through creativity or necessity you’ll quickly begin to learn how best to position pieces in creative ways to maximize height while trying to to completely ruin stability. You’re able to maneuver your pieces in half steps, creating gaps, but also allowing you to have pieces lean on others in various ways if you want to. Manage things well and you’re a mad genius, fail and you may be having to roughly start all over again.

Getting to the spells your little wizard character who I suppose is your avatar in control of your efforts has options at their disposal to either make your life easier or your enemy’s life tougher. Whether you’re making your pieces a bit more magnetically sticky or zapping troublesome pieces there can be critical benefits to keeping focused on what you’ve got going on. However, the temptation to annoy your opponent with balloons to slow their progress or super-sizing one of their pieces (which can royally screw up their day, depending on your timing) is often powerful and certainly these more aggressive moves tend to prompt the most memorable moments as well.

Of course it’s crucial that you’re able to enjoy puzzles games like this both alone and with others and the variety of options you have here is appreciated. Solo you can opt for challenges that will reinforce your skills for playing against others, whether racing to make your tower a specific height on a limit set of time or using a given number of pieces without making your tower too high. In endless mode you’ll instead be looking to keep building your tower higher without someone trying to mess you up, but instead having a combination of a creeping minimum height requirement and gravity as your enemies. Online play is supported as well, but unfortunately pre-release I haven’t been able to get anything rolling and ultimately whether the community is there to make it a sustained source of fun or it ends up being spotty will remain to be seen.

All in all Tricky Towers is a very refreshing take on what you’d have thought was a pretty locked in formula. The introduction of gravity, off-kilter piece placement, and power-ups really make the experience unique, and each of the modes tweak your priorities and goals just enough that they play out a bit differently as well. While it can be challenging and fun solo it’s really playing against someone else that takes it to the next level. No doubt the online option will be nice to have, but it’s really having someone right there next to you shouting obscenities at you that will make it the most satisfying so if you’ve got someone to play with locally you’ll have your best chances to fully enjoy the experience. Get ready to enjoy Tetrominoes in an entirely new way!

Score: 8

  • A fresh take on the use of the iconic Tetrominoes
  • Each of the modes offers a different priority and that opens the door to there being something just about any puzzle game fan should enjoy
  • Rewarding and challenging play for when you go solo as well

  • While online play is a great addition keep in mind not having the person in the room isn’t quite as fun and there being a wide community of people to play against is no guarantee
  • For people who can’t get a feel for the physics of trying to manage an ever-increasingly wobbly tower it may just prove frustrating