New to the Nintendo Switch comes a puzzler from Weird Beard games. Tricky Towers can best be described as the game of Tetris with a magical twist. Of course, this isn’t exactly the same, despite the visual similarity. Instead of trying to clear lines and avoid your bricks stacking up to the top of the screen, this is a tower building game/puzzler where you try to build the tallest structure. It’s packed with content, easy to play for short periods, fun and challenging.
The game is beautiful and features colorful, cartoonish characters and fun visual effects. The variety of bricks—many of them holiday-themed—are a nice touch and I love the animations for the magic spells. Oh, that’s right; there’s magic in this game. Light magic appears to give the player various benefits like extra lives or binding bricks together so they won’t tumble. Dark magic can do some crazy things like preventing brick rotation or making them heavy. It’s a fun mechanic that really comes in handy during intense multiplayer battles. As you stack the blocks you’ll notice that they have realistic physics to them. If you keep stacking them on one side the tower can begin to lean and pretty soon the blocks will begin to slip out and down goes all of your hard work! This becomes even more difficult when playing multiplayer because you will have all sorts of nasty stuff thrown your way, including slippery ice shapes that will make it near impossible to stack any blocks on top of them.
Following the quick, no-nonsense opening, players are taken to the option screen containing the play modes (local battle, online battle and single player), help, and a shop. At the beginning of the game there are four characters available. All of them ride clouds, possess magical abilities and are attempting to build crazy towers by stacking familiar-looking blocks in different way. The player selects a character and the type of blocks they’d like to use (I prefer the Halloween themed shapes) and then it’s time to build some crazy towers!
Local battle and online battle are both multiplayer modes (and self-explanatory) and are likely where most players will spend the majority of their time playing this game. The battles are fast, frenetic and fun—everything a multiplayer game should be. I played several online battles and thoroughly enjoyed them, even though I lost all but one of them. The local multiplayer is also highly functional and I encountered no issues. When players decide to go solo, there is a cornucopia of single player options. Well, technically there are only two options—trials and endless—but each of those options has a series of sub-options that make the game interesting.
Trials are exactly what they sound like. The player is given an obstacle of some kind—it could be an opponent or a laser beam that destroys bricks that line up with it. The player needs to carefully stack their bricks while simultaneously avoiding the obstacle or letting the bricks fall from the edge. There are various levels of the trials beginning with “rookie” and ending with “master,” with a total of 50 medals that can be obtained. The trial mode is fun, but I found several of them difficult for a silly reason: I kept trying to play the game like Tetris. Once I got out of that mindset, I did a little bit better; but not much. The challenges are fun, but weren’t the highlight of the game for me.
Selecting “endless” at the option screen opens up three more options: “race challenge,” “puzzle challenge,” and “survival challenge.” The goal in each of these modes is to get a high score while achieving the goal for the mode. In race challenge, there’s a finish line the player needs to build their tower up to. In puzzle mode, there’s a challenge that needs to be solved and survival mode is exactly what it says on the tin. All three modes are quick and fun. At my skill level, gameplay lasted anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes as I am apparently quite bad at video games like this.
The music is quirky, but becomes a bit tedious after awhile. I like the fun, slower pace of the melody and the instrumentation, but it would have been nice to have some more variety. Despite taking heavy inspiration from Tetris, the soundtrack here is nowhere near as catchy.
The graphics are good and the play control is intuitive, but it’s the plethora of options that really makes Tricky Towers stand out among other games of its type. The large number of options available—play modes, characters, block color schemes/types, challenges and unlockables—only add to the overall experience and replay value of the game. The shop is pretty straightforward and as of this review, only contains six additional types of bricks and no additional characters. I did not purchase any DLC during my playthrough.
Tricky Towers is a great game that at first glance appears to rip off Tetris, but in reality takes the concept and turns it on its head. The game really shines in local party mode where you and your friends can go at it. Much like a game of Mario Kart, the special magic effects can spell the difference between success and failure and many times it’s anybody’s game up until the last moment. Fun puzzlers are always a welcome addition to the Switch library, and given that you can play up to four players at once this makes it a natural fit for the system. It’s perfect for parties or a quick puzzler during some downtime.
Tricky Towers Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Tricky Towers is a fun puzzle game with a unique twist and perfect for pick up and play gaming. The game really shines when you play couch competitive multiplayer with friends.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.