PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

Tidalis
Developed By:  Arcen Games
Released: July 2010
Available on: PC, Mac
ESRB Rating: N/R
Genre: Puzzle
Single/Multiplayer
Price: $9.99

System Requirements

* 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)

 

* 1.4Ghz CPU minimum, 1.8 Ghz recommended for background animation or multiplayer

 

* 600MB Hard Disk Space

 

* 800x600 or greater screen resolution (32 bit color, 1280x720 recommended)

 

* Internet Connection or LAN required for networked multiplayer

 

* There are no particular graphics card requirements; anything from the last 5-8 years should be fine.

Thank you GamersGate for giving us this game to review!

I generally don’t consider myself much of a puzzle gamer but I was pleasantly surprised with Tidalis.  This is Arcen Game’s first attempt at a puzzle game and I think they succeeded.   It’s easy enough to draw in casual gamers and there’s enough strategy to stump veteran puzzle gamers.  Fortunately, there is a lot of variety and game modes so you’re not forced out of your comfort zone.    There are plenty of helpful tutorials and the adventure mode is a great way to gradually dive into the more challenging game modes.   It’s kind of silly to wrap a story around a puzzle game, but the characters are cute and the dialogue is funny.

In the adventure mode, there are many winning conditions but in general the goal is to remove blocks before they stack up too high.  Each block typically has a color with an arrow on it.  You can rotate the arrows and then you can fire a light stream that will follow the direction of the arrows.  If this stream connects blocks of the same color before dying out, they will disappear and start a chain reaction stream.  If you get multiple rows of blocks with one stream you’ll get more points.  Some levels allow you to fire multiple streams, but typically you’re only allowed one.

Highlights:

Strengths: Customizable puzzle styles
Weaknesses: No one online to play against
Moral Warnings: Some mischief

 

Adventure mode is my favorite since there is so much variety.  One levels goal may be to clear out a certain number of blocks in a short amount of time while the next level puts a cap on the score you\'re able to achieve. For that challenge you have to only get three in a row without chain reactions.  (Very challenging!) Each level has a different victory condition and if the condition is not met, you lose.  The levels gradually get harder and if you find that a level is too tough, you can skip it.

In brain teaser mode, you have to clear all of the blocks and you have a limited number of turns to do so.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s zen mode where the well is constantly filled with blocks and you can’t lose.  Many game modes have unique blocks with different effects.  Some of these blocks will not reflect the light stream and they all require a special way to be removed.   There are other level modifiers worth mentioning too.  Some levels will alter the way the light beam moves by imposing gravity or feather weight status on it.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Game Play: 17/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Stability: 4/5
Controls/Interface: 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

I’m just barely scratching the surface with the game styles, there are about twenty to play.  You can choose what level modifiers you prefer and customize a puzzle style of your liking.  Players can create and share their own level and puzzle creations as well.  You can play against other players locally, online or against the computer.  You can play competitively or co-operatively.  There are also ranked puzzle challenges too.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anyone to play online against.

Tidalis is constantly being updated and there’s talk about more content being offered via updates.  At first the built in game updater wasn’t working.  After I manually applied the first patch, the game has updated properly since.

The graphics are colorful and the particle effects are good.  The characters are unique and remind me of the artwork from Sponge Bob for some reason. The tiles are pretty easy to distinguish and there are even accessibility options for those who are visually impaired.

The character voices are gibberish and often repetitive.  The music is calm and peaceful and reminds me of hold or elevator music.  It too, is a bit over played.
From an appropriateness stand point this is a squeaky clean game that my kids enjoy watching me play.  The zen mode is easy enough for toddlers to grasp and the bright colors will capture their attention.  The harder modes frustrate me at times but I keep coming back for more.
If you enjoy puzzle games, check out Tidalis.  With a price tag of $9.99 for over 100 puzzles and more on the way, I can’t recommend this game enough.  At the very least, check out the demo.  There’s a ton of replay ability, it’s just a shame that I can’t find anyone to play online against…yet.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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