If you were to combine Tetris and Bejeweled Blitz, and add in a little platformer elements, you would get something like Treasure Stack, a new game from developer PixeLakes LLC. The basic idea is to stack the same color blocks together, then use a key block of the same color to make them disappear. What sets this apart from most puzzle games like it is that you actually have a character you control, rather than the falling blocks. And keeping up with the times, it also has online and local multiplayer. When I first saw it, I had high hopes as I grew up on Tetris. Unfortunately it did not deliver on my expectations.
The best part of Treasure Stack is the platformer mechanics you use to stack the blocks. You move your character along the bottom of the screen, jumping onto or over any blocks currently stacked, to get under the falling blocks. Then use a grappling hook to pull them to you and place them where you want. You can also pick up a stack of blocks and move them, which becomes necessary to maneuver at times. This may sound simple, but it quickly becomes frantic as more blocks start stacking up. There are also specialty blocks that will give you items to help, such as a sword you can use to destroy some blocks. The mechanics are very easy to learn, but extremely tough to master.
When playing solo your only goal is to try to last as long as possible. You also unlock new skins for your character and grappling hook as you level up through experience gained each time you play. This really doesn’t give a lot of replay if you’re only playing by yourself, but the game seems focused on multiplayer anyway.
The online multiplayer would probably be a lot of fun, except you’ll be waiting to get a match a decent while every time. When you do get into a match, as soon as it’s over you’re put back to the main menu and have to start back over. It became more tedious than fun after only a couple matches. However, if you’re lucky enough to have people to play with locally it becomes a pretty decent game. With the frenzied gameplay it can get pretty funny competing against friends, but even that gets a little stale after a few matches.
The controls in Treasure Stack are extremely simple and anyone will get used to them right away. At times, though, it can be a little finicky about picking up and moving the blocks you want. This can make it easy to get trapped and lose fast, making it a little frustrating. As you play more it does become easier to anticipate how you need to approach the blocks to get the exact ones you want.
Sound and Graphics:
The retro style music and graphics work great for Treasure Stack. Very reminiscent of early puzzle games, it adds an atmosphere that helps take me back to playing Tetris on my original Game Boy. If the rest of the game was as polished as these it would be awesome.
Treasure Stack is a unique puzzle game, that could have been great. Unfortunately, as it is, it falls flat. You can really see it’s potential when playing wtih friends locally, but it’s not enough to justify the $20 price tag. If you can find it on sale for $10 or less, and really love games like it, you might want to give it a shot. Otherwise skip it for some of the cheaper, or even free, options out there.