Tricky Towers PS4 Review

The PlayStation 4 has it pretty good when it comes to decent couch multiplayer affairs, the likes of TowerFall Ascension, Stikbold!, and Nidhogg all proving to be reliable mainstays when it comes to whiling the nightly hours away with a group of pad-toting friends. So it is then that we can happily add one more to those hallowed ranks, in the form of Tricky Towers from splendidly named Amsterdam-based developer WeirdBeard.

Tetris X Jenga

The first thing you need to know is that Tricky Towers both looks and plays like the spawn of Tetris and Jenga which is not a bad thing at all, though inconceivably staunch haters of either the latter or the former will certainly struggle to enjoy Tricky Towers’ base premise. For everyone else, you’ll be relieved to know that the game plays extremely familiarly for the most part, in so far as you have different coloured blocks that tumble down the screen which must be rotated and shuffled into place to fashion a colourful tower of awe-inspiring glory.

Immediately however, veteran Tetris players will notice that something is amiss; some cheeky rascal has only gone and applied a physics system to the whole thing and in the most literal terms, it is an absolute game-changer. Rather than being able to position blocks absolutely as has always been the case with Tetris and the numerous clones which have followed in its wake, Tricky Towers has blocks that wobble, tumble and fall depending however they’ve been positioned and as you can rightly imagine, this adds a whole new dimension to the proceedings that makes Tricky Towers feel like a proper hybrid of Tetris and Jenga.

Faulty Towers

Accompanying the absolute bedlam that this new physics system permits are the light and dark magic spells that are available in each match, because you see, rather than being some disembodied block manipulating deity, players are actually cast as a nutty little wizard who has the ability to both enhance their own blocking-dropping prospects whilst also disrupting those of their opponents. In terms of the light spells which can aid your own progression, these include such useful summonings as magnets that help your blocks stick together and lightning bolts that can destroy troublesome placed blocks to name just a couple.

Over on the A-hole side of the magical fence, dark spells can properly screw up the momentum of opposing players by doing everything from making supermassive (and thus horrendously hard to place) versions of their falling blocks appear to tying balloons around the blocks and thus preventing their accelerated descent. In short, there is no shortage of ways to annoy your fellow player; just expect such shenanigans to be returned in kind because, well, that’s all part of the fun.

And what fun it is. Playing contrary to Tetris’ traditionally slow starting pace, multiplayer games in Tricky Towers are frequently a riot, fuelled as they are by the broad objectives of the various game modes and of course, the naturally frantic escapades of trying to outdo your foes with whatever spells are at your disposal.   


Speaking of those various modes, Tricky Towers supports a trio of different game types; race, puzzle and survival across single-player, local multiplayer and online multiplayer configurations. Of the three, survival sticks closest to the original Tetris format, though race and puzzle are arguably far more interesting. In the case of the latter, players are given a specific number of blocks that must be arranged in such a way that they don’t creep over a predetermined line, with the first person to arrange their blocks correctly without exhausting their three lives being deemed the winner. By placing a premium simultaneously on both logic and speed, the gradually more difficult puzzles excel as both brilliantly intense brain-teasers and also as prime competitive material in a way that very few other games can offer.

In regards to the race mode, Tricky Towers embraces a different sort of intensity as players rush to build a tower as quickly as possible in order to reach a finish line suspended high in the sky. The kicker to this though, is that it isn’t enough to just stack a rickety arrangement of skyward pointed blocks to reach the finish line because the tower must be able to stand above the finish line for a full three seconds in order for the player to be declared the victor. As you can well imagine then, such matches are furiously contested affairs that elicit as many laughs and raucous whoops as just about any other multiplayer game available on PS4.

If anything, it’s a shame that there aren’t more game modes on offer. With the level of imagination evident in the design of the puzzle and race levels, WeirdBeard has opened the door to a reimagining of a classic formula that could still go in a number of different directions, so here’s hoping that any future content which may, or may not, be in development for the game includes more content in this vein.

In Summary

In a time when local multiplayer efforts aren’t really known for taxing the cerebrum, it’s refreshing to see one such effort that does exactly that. A confident evolution of Alexey Pajitnov’s 1984 classic Tetris, Tricky Towers augments the founding compelling principles of that landmark title with some entertaining game modes, and a fiendishly sly selection of game-changing spells. Despite such advancements however, Tricky Towers’ appeal remains firmly rooted with those who found joy with Pajitnov’s block-dropping puzzler all those years ago and as such, newcomers may struggle to embrace its substantial, though subversive charm.



The Final Word

Not just an exceptional title that breathes fresh life into the traditional Tetris formula, Tricky Towers also gives a great account of itself for those folks looking to test their brains rather than their trigger fingers in both local and online multiplayer gatherings.