Even relatively simple, free to play, web-based games get lauded these days for their life-like graphics and movie-style production values. In a genre that looks set to leave Hollywood in its wake from a dollar perspective, that’s fair enough. But as anyone who was around in the early years of gaming knows, a game doesn’t have to be true to life in order to be successful and to draw you into its world.
Sometimes the simplest games can prove the most memorable – just take a look at the enduring popularity of Tetris. Tricky Towers is a more recent example of the theory, and proves it remains true to this day. It has captured the imagination of Mac and Windows users alike. We caught up with the gaming geeks at GDGTPreview to find out what the game is all about.
Tricky Towers can trace its roots back to 2009 when WeirdBeard initially released its 99 Bricks Classic game on the Kongregate platform. That evolved into 99 Bricks Wizard Academy, which came out five years later. This formed the inspiration for the release of Tricky Towers on Steam in August 2016. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game followed a year later, and a version for the Nintendo Switch came out in October 2018.
The comparison with Tetris is not an idle one, and when you first start to play Tricky Towers, the visual similarities, with falling blocks, are unmistakable. However, the gameplay itself is completely different. The objective here is to stack the blocks onto a tower, not to clear rows.
Unlike Tetris, completed rows do not disappear, but blocks can and do fall from the tower. There is also the potential for blocks to suddenly change in one of several ways, for example speeding up, getting bigger or becoming slippery.
The objective is to build your tower as high as possible. The wizard avatar allows you to cast spells that can help your progress or, perhaps more pertinently, hinder others. There are a total of 17 such spells, which are categorized “light” or “dark,” depending on whether they seek to aid your tower building or make mischief to others.
In single player mode, Tricky Towers is engaging enough, but it can’t be matched with the newest Tetris game. However, it is in multiplayer that the game really shines. There are three different multiplayer modes, Race, Puzzle and Survival. In race mode, it’s a case of who can get their tower to a set height first, while in puzzle, the game is more akin to Tetris in that the aim is to use up bricks without taking the tower above a set height. Survival mode challenges the players to place a set number of bricks on the tower and avoid dropping them or losing health, a little like a virtual Jenga game.
Each game mode demands different types of skill, whether it is fast reaction times, virtual engineering skills or strategic thinking to outwit your opponent. It’s certain to be a big hit for family gameplay this Christmas, so is well worth adding to your game collection.