I can’t begin to tell you how many days I have squandered, gazing at my monitor like a zombie, clutching the mouse and vowing, “Just one more try, then I’ll get on with my life”, only to keep on playing for a few hours more.
I hate to admit it, but yes, I belong to the PGA. No, not the Professional Golfers Association, but the Puzzle Gamers Anonymous. You see, I’m a puzzle freak. It doesn’t matter what game or what systems it’s on, I’ll play it. I thought I had my problem under control until I was handed a copy of TILTit by indie developer MABE Games. And now, I’m a complete mess….again.
You can see the top block start quivering and shaking ready to tip over as I desperately tried to land additional pieces on the weak side to keep it balanced. This one moment alone probably aged me by ten years!
Tiltit and they will come
TILTit’s basic premise is simple, and yet, so addictive. You line up falling squares with different designs on a verticle plane to create matching pairs. When matching pairs are lined up, they explode and disappear leaving you more room to place additional blocks. Sounds simple, no? Well, it is. Until you factor in that the verticle plane you’re playing on is actually a see-saw that sways and tilts depending on how many blocks you have on it. The more blocks you have on one side, the more off-balanced it becomes until it totally tilts over. Then it’s game over.
Instinct alone will get you through the first few levels, but to score the really big points or to complete the more difficult levels, you must employ some strategy. Personally, I found it helpful to stack blocks on top of each other right down the middle and used the sides to keep things balanced. Just like other puzzlers, you don’t always get the blocks that you want or need making it essential to preplan what blocks will fall next and where to place them.
Visually, TILTit has a distinctly retro look to it reminiscent of Tron and Battlezone with neon vector-like graphics that sizzle and zap in cool little explosions. The spatial surroundings give the appearance of movement which is subtle but impactful especially when physics comes into play. Each block that lands on the plane sways and rolls realistically making for some nerve-racking moments. In one stage, I had four blocks on top of each other with the see-saw leaning very close to the right side. You can see the top block start quivering and shaking ready to tip over as I desperately tried to land additional pieces on the weak side to keep it balanced. This one moment alone probably aged me by ten years!
The music and sound effects are serviceable but not spectacular, but to be quite honest, it doesn’t have to be with the gameplay being pretty solid. While a good soundtrack is important, it’s not required but I would have liked to hear more of a techno-rock beat similar to the one used in Tetris Revival. Despite everything else, TILTit is by far one of the better strategy/puzzle games I’ve played in a long time. The learning curve, the simple premise, and addictive gameplay make this title a treat to watch and even more fun to play.