Adorable wizards, delightful magic and the chance to build the towers of our dreams. Surely Tricky Towers cannot fail?
Well, that all depends what you’re looking for because even though the development team at WeirdBeard Games have delivered us a Tetris style puzzle affair that should cater for the solo player, the online gamer and those who prefer their multiplayer enjoyment with the comfort of a friend beside them on the sofa, the overall enjoyment actually found is a tad more limited.
Armed with a small patch of land, it is up to you to cleverly navigate numerous dropping tetrominoes in order to build the tallest, sturdiest, most well established tower you possibly can. With the usual Tetris styled shapes that we know and love all present, anyone who is familiar with block dropping should pretty much know what to expect with Tricky Towers. Except for the fact that should you try and play the game with all your best Tetris skills in hand, you’re pretty much destined for failure. It takes a different kind of tactic to succeed in Tricky Towers, but thankfully you’ll find a little fun in learning the best courses of action.
To enable this learning process, we find that Tricky Towers comes with solo, online and local options. Now, without beating around the bush, the latter of those is by far the best experience, with Tricky Towers absolutely excelling in local form.
Whether you’re racing to place blocks in order to create the tallest tower possible before your three mates, struggling to squeeze in as many pieces below a laser beam or just attempting to stop them falling into the dark abyss beneath your land, the challenge, the shouting, the bragging rights and the digs in the ribs makes it a fun time had by all.
It gets even better once you start learning how to harness both light and dark magic, with the former helping your progress and the latter inflicting pain on any opponent. There really is nothing better than firing across a balloon which happily floats away with your opponents’ last crucial piece to stop them taking a victory. As you can imagine, much shouting and laughter ensues at this point.
But after the appeal of this sofa based multiplayer fun ends, Tricky Towers begins to struggle. Massively.
An included solo mode fails to see any enthusiasm garnered with numerous challenges and an endless mode failing to really deliver. The premise seems fine, but the execution leaves the rookie, apprentice, pro, expert and master challenges to come across as either hugely frustrating or utterly boring. Once you’ve completed a race in solo mode, you’ll very rarely wish to bother trying to complete another, and another. Because without someone sat next to you, the whole fun factor is fast removed.
The endless mode similarly should be good fun, but again just trying to place yourself on a leaderboard for each of the Race, Puzzle and Survival challenges gets tiresome. Find a mate who has the game, giving you the added draw of some leaderboard hunting and the appeal grows a bit. But not for long.
And then we have the online multiplayer. A mode which, from the outside looking in, really could have been built specifically to bring in the fun of Tricky Towers. Except for the fact that absolutely no-one is playing the game. In my time reviewing this title I’ve yet to find a single opponent from the online world, let alone three others who could ever see me fill a full lobby. If ever a game was crying out for Xbox Games With Gold status, this is it because I feel that may be the only way the masses will get some online Tricky Towers enjoyment – and it’s most definitely the only way anyone who has spent cash on the game will find the opportunity to get involved in the Online Cup, Online Game and Play With Friends options. In a weird twist of fate it seems the developers have unwittingly acknowledged that the game will be a bit quiet on the online front, as the wait for an online friend leaves you staring blankly at a screen with a ghost town feel – with metaphoric wind blowing. The only thing missing is the tumbleweed rolling across screen.
So Tricky Towers is most definitely a game you should be playing if you can manage to grab a couple of others to sit down alongside you. In fact, as party games go, it’s right up there with the great wonders of this world. But the high asking price and additions of solo and online modes bring very little to the experience, and you shouldn’t be looking to ever get involved on the back of those. And that’s a shame because while the physics work well, the music is decent, and the bright colourful nature it emits is absolutely fine, without anyone to play Tricky Towers with, you’re left with a game that is very much left wanting.
Even all the wizards in the world can’t help it!