Games like Tetris and Bejeweled are icons of their genre; Puzzle games that people return to time and time again, always having ‘just one more go’ that turns into bleary eyes are sore thumbs in the morning. Hours can be wasted – or well spent depending on your outlook- on these kinds of games, so what exactly do we get when a game offers all of the above, throws in some platforming aspects and the ability to grapple falling blocks (or chests in this instance) with a character and a hook of your own choosing? Well, we get Treasure Stack.
Treasure Stacks mechanics are relatively easy to pick up, it only took me a couple of rounds before I had nailed the basic principle of the game and began my descent into addiction. Chests and keys of varying colours fall from the sky, you can either let them fall as they will, or grapple them down quicker; the main objective to nobody’s surprise is to match a key to the corresponding chest -or collection of chests- which causes them to poof into nothingness and grant you coins. You’re thrown a curveball in the form of ‘skull’ blocks that will periodically add a layer to your current stacks and can mean certain death if you don’t keep a close eye on what you’re doing; to counter this you also get items in the form of bombs, swords and anvils, that will clear large amounts of blocks out of your way.
As easy as it is to figure out how the game works, getting good at it is a whole other story. I hit a plateau and no matter how well I was doing, there was always a point around the 6 minute mark where everything went to hell and I was scrambling to make sense of the mass of keys and chests in front of me, while the wonderful ‘You have almost reached to top’ alarm would buzz away, adding exponentially to my stress.
Your hard-earned coins go to good use and will ‘level’ you up after each round – if you do well enough – which grants you new skins for both your character and your grapple giving you something to work towards other than bolstering your own pride. Although at no point are we shown all 100+ unlockable items so it’s a bit of a lucky dip with what goodie you’re going to get next.
The art style and sound design are a nostalgic nod to old school 8-bit video games, with some of the sound effects giving me a distinctly Mario vibe at times. Even though the overall style remains simplistic, the characters animations are quirky and the controls feel responsive.
If you can manage to grapple somebody into playing with you the game offers up to 4 player couch co-op as well as a ranked online matches (this feature wasn’t live at the time of reviewing, but is now available for all the competitive puzzle players out there!) but the game is equally enjoyable played solo, and with matches normally only lasting a few minutes each (skill level dependant), it makes for a great travel companion.
Treasure Stack is a fun little hybrid of a game, it takes ideas from a couple of genres and adds in a little bit of its own magic that makes it addictive and just different enough to remain interesting, keeping you going back for just one more go…
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*