Arcen Games‘ puzzle game Tidalis for the PC has some interesting traits to it. Tidalis is another game in the family of falling block puzzle games, but with some entertaining differences. Tidalis is all about creating streams to remove the blocks on the playfield. If you’re a casual puzzle player or a serious one, chances are you should be interested in this game.
Like many falling block games the object is to connect three or more of the same color block. What is different about Tidalis is the way in which you make these connections. You won’t be rotating sets of four blocks or switching two blocks with each other. You won’t be controlling the falling blocks either. It is all about the streams. Blocks have directional arrows on them and you can change the direction of these arrows to suit your needs. Then when you think you have a stream ready you click on a block and a stream will emit from that block heading in the direction of the arrow, if it hits another block of the same color before it runs out the stream will continue in the new direction. Once the stream has ended if 3 or more blocks are lit they will vanish and the blocks above them will fall. The block directly above a removed block will then also emit a stream when it falls into place. this can create combo streams worth a lot of points. Once all the streams have finished going your ready to set off another stream. While a stream is going you can still change the directions of arrows in an attempt to keep future streams going.
The game would be pretty simple if it was just that, but there is a lot more to this game. For one not all of the puzzles are falling block puzzles. One type is the zen puzzle in which the entire board is filled with blocks and you must complete an objective while any blocks that are removed cause the other blocks to fall and new blocks from above to fall to keep the board full. Many more game play modes give the game a different feel and keep you on your toes. With puzzles that require you to remove a certain number of blocks while keeping your score under a certain number. The game is full of challenges.
With numerous special blocks that require special methods to remove them. Some have special effects on the streams from splitting them into all four directions or stopping them in their tracks. What you will need to do to keep from losing constantly changes, in each match.
Now on to the game modes available. Well there is an adventure mode, which has a cutesy story and introduces you to the myriad of puzzle modes. This mode is surprisingly long, but if you get stuck on a puzzle you can always skip the puzzle. Although I ask you what is the fun in that. You can also skip the story parts as well if you want to get straight to each level. So adventure mode is a bit what you make of it.
Another mode is Quick play which is exactly as it sounds start up a match and set some options and play against the computer or a friend. Another mode allows for you to play against others across the net. You can also download custom boards other players have created as well as make your own puzzle to share with others. With the myriad of match modes and block types, you are hardly limited in creating a unique level of your own.
The game supports co-op play as well as versus modes. This can also be done while sharing the same PC for game play. Now I will admit I did not try to play this game two players on the same PC, although I did play vs against the AI which has different difficulty settings. This is a highly addictive game with a lot of replay value.
I give this game a 4 out of 5 and well worth it’s price, especially for puzzle addicts.