Right, Down, Down, Right. No, that’s not a cheat code for unlimited ammo or infinite lives, but the simple solution to the opening level of fast-paced puzzle game, Tiles. It’s the first Xbox One release from the sole developer over at Romans I XVI Gaming. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity though as the aim is to deliver a game which convolutes the mind and burns your finger tips simultaneously. Well, one thing’s for sure, your fingers will be working overtime!
Tiles is all about tiles, unsurprisingly, and each level tasks you with safely traversing from a green tile to a red exit tile, using a white tile in top down perspective. That really is the entire concept in a nutshell. Tiles may fall away after contact or randomly disappear though, which is where the puzzling side comes into play as you must touch every blue tile without failing into the abyss before reaching the finishing tile. Formulating a route that meets such requirements is a great test of the mind, especially as the layouts grow larger and become more varied in terms of the pattern.
I think it’d get boring quickly if no other features were added to this simplistic puzzle, which is why I was relieved to see other coloured tiles, bearing unique properties, thrown into the mix after only a few levels. The trusty purple one is as reliable as it gets, with it never disappearing, no matter the length of time you take or the amount of times it’s stepped on. A light blue tile indicates the need to go over it twice to remove it from the screen. There’s also the marginally trickier type in orange, which falls and reappears at set intervals; therefore timing is everything to cross such a tile before it goes away again. If that was the extent of the additions, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed given how frustrating the tile type is that I’ve neglected to mention thus far – the dreaded yellow ones.
After a certain interval length, the yellow tiles just start to fall, either all at once or singularly, without a care in the world if it cuts of the only route possible. What’s wrong with that? Well, the speed at which you must manoeuvre is ridiculously difficult to maintain unless you’re The Flash. Granted, my reflexes may be waning with age, but when you’re not even close to making it in time, yet you know exactly how to get there, it’s bloody annoying. The only good thing is that your next fresh attempt begins instantaneously, so you’re not wasting any time after failing. Should you manage to fluke it, there’s no joy because you know the next challenging puzzle is going to torture you once more.
I don’t believe the control setup does Tiles any favours either, with movements only possible via the D-Pad. It just doesn’t feel right being forced to use that for every action; it isn’t the ’90s anymore. Why can’t I swap the controls to use the left stick? At least it would give the majority of players more of a chance.
All of the 90 levels included are timed for ‘fun’, giving the speed-runner gamers a reason to replay them over and over again to shave off a millisecond or two. If you get stuck on any, there’s no way to advance with completing a level, which leaves you with one other option – the user-created levels.
There are loads of designs uploaded by other players to have a bash at, and that way you can avoid any using yellow tiles. It’s really missing the inclusion of leaderboards though, so you’re only competing with yourself to set records throughout the whole game. Alternatively, you could just spend time creating a challenging level or two for the online masses, via a level editor which includes options to place any of the tile colours into your design – even if only for a quick Achievement. It’s very basic, but it does the job intended.
In terms of local multiplayer, up to four players can play a level together simultaneously; although I’m not sure why you’d want to share this rage inducing experience with friends or family. The air will certainly be turning blue in no time.
Tiles doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table, with bog standard coloured squares being the order of the day. The puzzling nature involved is mildly enjoyable though, figuring out the ideal route of some crazy layouts. My main issue lies within the ridiculous speed needed to overcome levels featuring those darn yellow tiles and just how early on in the game it ramps the difficulty up to frustrating heights. Fortunately for Tiles, it has a load of user-created offerings to turn to when the main mode levels prove too tricky.
Would I enjoy it more if I had superhuman reflexes? It’s quite possible. So if that’s one of your strengths, then it’s worth considering a purchase given how cheap it as at under £4. As for me, I’m going to give my hands an ice bath to cool down.