19/04/2019

๐Ÿ—️ Review: Treasure Stack "Not Easy To Pick Up & Not Easy To Master" ๐Ÿ—️ @TreasureStack #GameDev #IndieGame

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Format: Nintendo Switch

Most puzzle games set out to get you hooked with an easy to pick up game loop but a hard to master long game...

This is definitely not the case with Treasure Stack...

The pixel art style of this game really drew me in immediately. It's a great style and if you know me then you know I'm a sucker for pixel art video games. The only thing I would call out immediately though is there isn't much variation if any at all in terms of backgrounds and play areas but you do get different character types and grapple hooks which add a degree of variety in terms of the cosmetic appearance of your player.

The gameplay loop is as follows: you will play an Online game, Local Party or a Solo player game. For this review, I attempted to get an online game going at different points of the day with no success so I have reviewed this game from a Solo point of view.

The game tasks you with organising treasuring chests that drop from the ceiling in order that you can line them up and make them disappear with the corresponding coloured key that matches the chest or chests that you line up on screen. The game is a hybrid platform puzzler and matching game that demands that you use your on-screen character to jump around the play area grappling boxes from the ceiling to speed the flow up and arranging said boxes in the best manner to stop them from filling up to the top of the screen. There are elements of Tetris and Mario all thrown into one game here and the gameplay ideas are good. There are power-ups that drop down that can give you a much needed one-time ability to clear chests at a quicker rate through the use of a bomb or a sword or a pile driver type of power-up that clears a complete vertical line.
All of the above is good fun but is a little let down by the controls not being as tight as they could be. Whilst you get a tutorial up front it only scratches the surface very lightly before you are tossed into the action and you will find yourself cursing the controls as you acclimatise to the nuances of the systems at play. One thing you will need to learn quickly is how to traverse the stacks of boxes in order to shift them around the screen and that will take a good few goes to get used to, as the way you do this isn't immediately obvious or intuitive for new players.

Once I got this mechanic down, my next hurdle was trying to manage the doom blocks that also get tossed into the play area from the side. These blocks are thrown in regularly from the meter that fills up on the side of the screen. They are concrete blocks that can only be removed by placing a key next to them and cannot be part of a chain of chests. 

With all this chaos going on it means that you are always in danger of filling your screen. It's rare that you will get into a Zen-like state whilst playing this title as you are always frantically trying to clear the screen quicker than the AI is filling it up!
The problem I had with the solo player mode is that the progression was limited, there are no new levels to play but there is a character Level Up based on how many points you scored in your last game. The levels you go up then the more types of grapple hook that are discovered and the more types of character you can play as. These are all cosmetic upgrades with no impact on gameplay. 

I think this game probably works better as a multiplayer party game as the frantic nature of the games lends itself to short sharp bursts of Treasure stacking mayhem rather than a solo player grinding through levels.

Summary
My feeling on this game is that it is nearly a great game but comes up short in terms of variation and content. I'd also point out that I think the game is slightly overpriced in the Switch eShop at £15.79 / $19.99 which is dearer than the likes of Indie Games such as Hollow Knight and Donut County. 

I'd say play this when it comes down in price and gather friends together who have the patience to learn the skills to make this game an awesome party game title.

Right I'm off to stand aloft an 80-foot stack of wooden boxes....wish me luck!
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)

MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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