Switch version tested
Review code provided
It is safe to say that falling object games have stuck to a straightforward formula that has served the genre well over the years. Whether it is clearing lines made from various shaped objects in Tetris or lining up matching animals in Zoo Keeper, as the clock ticks faster or the blocks fall quicker, we have all been drawn in by these easy to play but difficult to master titles that appeal to our “just one more game” addiction.
Our friends from the twin cities “PIXELAKES” look to spice the genre up by combining classic falling block gameplay with an element of platforming. Taking control of a sprite, Treasure Stack tasks you with lining up matching coloured treasure chests that fall in sets of two and slowly increase in drop speed as the round progresses. The trick here though is just lining up the chests will not be enough, you also need to wait for a key of matching colour to fall and drop it on the chest to break them and all connecting chests of the same colour, managing your stacks and lining up those colours under pressure will is key to success.
Moving matching chests around becomes a hectic affair as the “Doom Bar” as I came to call it, fills to the left of your screen and once full it will unleash a block of black and red blocks raising you ever closer to the top of your screen which will spell the end of your round once reached. These blocks can be broken by opening chests connected to them or by using a range of power up’s that drop. These vary from bombs that destroy a 3×3 radius on chests, a sword that cuts open and clears chests that it touches and an anvil that will clear a whole vertical line for you. Fortunately, your chosen sprite has a handy grapple hook to pull chests down quicker so once you get in the swing of things you can be shifting around pixelated boxes with more style than a dire straits music video!
Although the game boasts a large range of sprites and hook designs to unlock these are cosmetic only, making the solo experience more about practice and perfection while trying to conquer your previous high score. This does happily ensure the playing field will remain even once you step into the multiplayer, meaning it’s all down to who has the most skill! The multiplayer caters for up to 4 Player Local and 1v1 online. At time of review, I was unable to use the online but “PIXELAKES” have confirmed this will be cross-play between Switch, Xbox and PC. So, if you get tired of ruining friendships face to face you can do so in the wonderful world of online.
Whether this game can stand out and find success under the mammoth shadow that Tetris 99 is currently casting is yet to be seen but with a solo offline mode this could make it the perfect game to scratch that itch. There is certainly fun to be had with this title, especially if you have a few friends round and want to claim some bragging rights.
It’s always good to see developers trying to bring a little something different to a tried and tested formula. Treasure Stack is solo fun in short bursts so ideal for lunch breaks and commutes, but the real appeal is in the multiplayer. I enjoyed my time with this title and will continue to play in short bursts.