Any fan of classic NES and SNES puzzle games might be familiar with the game Wario’s Woods. It was such a fun puzzle game that still holds up to this day. While everyone seems to want to copy the play styles of Puyo Puyo and Tetris, there are very few that ape Wario’s Woods, but we now have a contender with Treasure Stack. One glance at a gameplay video will show off some similarities, but does is the gameplay just as entertaining?
Treasure Stack might look complicated at first blush, but after a few minutes the concept is rather easy to understand. Multicolored boxes of treasure will rain down onto the screen, and your goal is to match them up and try to get rid of them with a corresponding colored key block. Instead of moving the boxes themselves, you will instead be in control of a little character that can pick up and move the boxes manually. Occasionally you’ll get items like a sword or an anvil that will allow you to quickly clear out some of the boxes. You also have the ability to grapple onto the treasure chests and drop them down into your arms making for more fun and varied moves.
When it comes to puzzle games the gameplay can make or break it. All of the fancy graphics in the world won’t change a bad puzzler into a good one. With Treasure Stack it’s not so much that the game plays badly, but it’s just not that compelling. You’re very limited in the moves you can make. When compared to Wario’s Woods, where you can do things like kicking blocks to stack them up, this one feels a bit empty. This in turn makes this title a bit more tedious than it could have been. The grappling hook mechanic could have been utilized in more ways instead of just dropping the blocks. I’d have loved to see it allow you to lift yourself above tall stacks or maybe pull a specific block from a stack without having to carry all of the ones on top of it.
The game’s main focus is on its competitive play, which supports both local and online. The local multiplayer is as good as you would expect, but what is surprising is how well the online works. The Nintendo Switch isn’t known for having the best online playability, but Treasure Stack works perfectly fine on the Switch. There were no connection issues, opponents were found in less than a minute, and best of all there was no lag to speak of. Laggy movement would have no doubt killed the online aspect of this game, but thankfully that isn’t the case. And while the solo mode of this game is severely lacking, the multiplayer modes are handled so much better. There are three online modes: Season, Casual, and Private. Private mode lets you set up matches with people on your friend’s list, Casual mode lets you play friendly matches against players, and Season mode lets you battle players in order to increase your rank in that season.
While the game focuses more on multiplayer it does have a solo mode as well. That being said, it’s just the bare minimum. You simply play a normal game in the hope of getting the high score, as well as to unlock more characters and grappling hooks with gold. There’s no story, no items or hazards exclusive to solo play, no options to customize the mode, and no way to make it easier to harder. You can’t even set up a match with an A.I opponent to practice with for the multiplayer mode. This lack of effort in the solo mode will really hurt the games lasting appeal for most players.
Besides what’s been mentioned, the game doesn’t have much else in terms of content. There are collectibles you can unlock in solo mode by earning coins, such as grappling hooks or skins, but with how lacking that mode is you never feel like the rewards are worth the effort. You can also earn skins and grappling hooks by getting to certain ranks in season mode, which feels more satisfying to earn than in solo mode. The game also lacks in aspects like background designs and music, as there’s only one level background and one song for the matches. While this isn’t a terrible thing, in fact being very common for games like this, it just shows that they didn’t go above and beyond with this title. Multiplayer puzzle fans will no doubt still find something to like here, but the solo mode could have used more time in the oven.
Treasure Stack Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 6.5/106.5/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Treasure Stack is a fun puzzle game that plays it safe and doesn’t draw outside the lines. It’s great to see another developer run with the Wario’s Woods concept, but unfortunately it fails to outdo that game, which Switch Online members can play right now via the NES app for free.