See you in the dark abyss

Steam: Released
Type: Single player, Local Multiplayer
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Romans I XVI Gaming, LLC
Publisher: Romans I XVI Gaming, LLC
Release Date: 20 Mar, 2017

With so many games coming out, there are occasions where puzzle games appear. Some having a complicated concept that can easily go wrong depending on how you handle the different aspects. While others can be appreciated for taking more of a simple root. Tiles is one of those games.
To it’s core, Tiles is a simple puzzle game containing 90 levels. Only needing your eyes and the basic knowledge of how to move around that many other games use. Greeted by upbeat music, each level will have a tile design ready for you to complete. Starting on a green tile, you must get all of the blue tiles to crumble after stepping on them for the exit, or red tile, to become solid. Other tiles, differing in color, are incorporated alongside these as well, such as orange tiles will fall and reappear and yellow tiles falling as their time runs out. As easy as it sounds, playing it gets much harder.

As levels start out easy so you can get the feel for everything, it gradually gets harder as new designs utilize the different tiles more and more. At first you will be able to see exactly where you go with the small levels. Soon this will quickly not be the case as it switches to trial and error. Of course this will centrally switch as some can be obvious or be a combination of the two. Through the harder ones, replaying the level is essential rather than trying to plan the route beforehand. Each step you take helps in solving the puzzle whether it caused you restart or put you closer to solving it. Remembering the steps you took and your mistakes so you can avoid them again helps decide the next steps to take as well. Sometimes you can have it totally wrong and have to think of a different path to take, which can turn out to be correct all along. Afterwards seeming like such an easy solution how could you not figure it out before then.

Speed and accuracy is incorporated into this, especially with being able to fall off of an edge, blue tiles being able to collapse under you, and orange tiles coming in and out constantly. It can be easy to fall off of the edge, even happening in the late levels, especially when you are going fast and not necessarily counting tiles in front of you or not caring. While speed can go with the faster levels or when you are backtracking before the blue tiles disappear. While generally both can be applied, especially when the tiles going out based on timing are in place. The orange tile is the most common to cause a lot of trouble as you can easily go over the space just as it disappears. The use of the different tiles in this way adds a hint of complexity to the puzzles. Not just that you are picking off tiles but also basing your movements off of the need to keep up the need for speed. The lack of the background does help you focus in, no distractions that can grab your attention away from the tiles. With a game focused on accuracy and speed, the controls need to be responsive. Luckily this is the case as it keeps a consistent reliability throughout the game with both controller and keyboard. Though I did lean towards keyboard as it allowed less movement to pick up speed.

You want to be competitive with Tiles? With each level is a goal time that you can beat yourself, marked with a star, even if you get it right on the dot. While finishing a level can be rewarding, finishing it under the goal time is even more so. You can also speedrun it by never going back into the menu and enduring the wrist pain that will come with playing Tiles for a long session. However, the biggest bragging right you can have is the impossible challenge. As all these can be found as the game’s achievements, it can’t help but be enticing. Simply speedrun Tiles without dying in any of the 90 levels. If you are interested in getting every achievement, this game will certainly last more than a couple of afternoons.

Whenever you fail it feels it was your fault, not the game lagging in a small way. With this the case, the fast respawn allows for a quick replay for the level, especially with how many retries a level may need for you. A death screen would certainly take away from the pace and the zone someone can be in. While it can be annoying, especially with the death sound, it certainly helps the player remember their route and how fast they need to go.

Even with the challenging 90 levels, there is a level editor within the game. While I did not do much with the level editor, it is easy to navigate and use. Seeing all the different creations and playing through them is a nice experience and break from the main puzzles. Even if they can be as hard as the main ones.


+ Very easy controls
+ Controls responsive
+ Fast respawn
+ Level creator
– Wrist pain


Tiles may be simple, but uses this to make a challenging puzzle game. The responsive controls allows the player to know they caused the death, not the game, as they try to go through levels adjusting to the speed and accuracy needed. The only downside being the wrist pain you can get with a long play session. Along with the goal time being there for you to beat and the level creator, it does give you many opportunities to play more after finishing the main puzzles last.

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