We have had a fair few really good puzzle games transfer from the PC over to the PS4/PS Vita in the last few months yet I believe Tiles is one of the simplest in design yet toughest in nature! Developed by Romans I XVI Gaming which is made up of one man, Austin Sojka, Tiles is a fast-paced puzzles game with will ‘both convolute your mind and burn your fingertips’. However, at first glance Tiles looks like a simple game, yet don’t be fooled by appearances.
Tiles is a Puzzle game which gets harder and more frustrating each time you progress to the next level. The game introduces you to a lot of new tiles/mechanics just as you become a master at the ones you are currently faced with along with new, perfectly designed levels which will have you scratching your head before you begin to move. There is no story, no continues, no lives and no score – just a timer and the threat of starting the level all over again if you succumb to the darkness and fall off the path. Believe me, it’s not fun when you have tried the same level about 20-30 times and finally got the timing down perfectly but then at the last minute you have a brain freeze and hit the wrong button. This happened to me a few times and almost had me throwing my controller in anger!
The object of the game is to clear all of the ‘blue’ tiles, as you can see in the image above, and then land on the red tile – so you must plan your journey precisely so you have safe passage to the red square upon eliminating the blues. However, as explained above, you have to look out for the soul-crushing nasty tiles who are there to make you time harder, as well as a few who actually help you out. As each new level begins, I would advise you to take a moment to look at it and visualise the route you wish to take – The timer is there for PSN trophies and the scoreboard so you don’t have to worry about that but once you step on a blue tile you have about 2-3 seconds to move until it vanishes.
Every time you complete a puzzle you feel like you’ve accomplished something as some of them get pretty hard a few chapters in. In regards to chapters, you have six chapters, each with fifteen puzzles in each for a total of 90 levels. If you have ever played a Picross game before, the menu layout is a little like those games – all the puzzles are a question mark until you have completed them, then you can see what it looks like. What I found really good about Tiles is the fact that once you have completed a puzzle you can select it and instantly see your replay in a little window – no load times, no need to move away from the menu – right there! Not only that, you can hover over anyone else who has completed the puzzle (their times are also recorded) and you get an instant replay of the route they took. So, if you take 20 seconds but someone else takes 10 then you can take a look at what they did and try to better them. Personally, I think that’s awesome – especially how seamless and fast it is to do so.
If you have completed all of the games 90 puzzles or if you fancy trying something new, there is a puzzle creator/level editor included in the game! Akin to Mario maker, you select what tiles you want, draw them out and then you are required to play the level and complete it before you are allowed to upload it for others to play. This is a great requirement as it stops people spamming the game with impossible puzzles. At the time of writing this, there are around 340 user created levels on there at the moment ranging from easy to hard and from simple to a 1:1 likeness of Mario (below). The game is cross-play with PC in that levels created on either PC or PS4 can be played by both systems.
Just like in previous puzzle games, I believe this is a short-burst kind of game. I can’t see you fixated on the game for hours upon hours at a time but rather the odd 20-30 mins here or there. Which begs the question – how come the game is only on PS4 and not on Vita as well? The game is simple enough to cause no issues on the Vita and the nature of the game would be perfect for the handheld. Hopefully, it’s ported over at some point in the future, maybe even to the Switch as well, as these types of games are great for on-the-go style gameplay. That being said, there is a PSN trophy for completing all 90 puzzles in one go without returning to the menu – hats off to whoever manages that – I got to the third chapter before I had to take a break as my fingers were beginning to hurt!
The only gripe I have with the game is the controls tbh. The controls as they are, on console, work fine as you only use the D-pad to move (no sticks) but that’s where the issue lies. A few PSN trophies revolve around beating the target time on the screen – a time which was set for PC users. Because the D-Pad is fairly small and you have to tap the buttons fast if you wish to beat the times, the D-Pad makes it almost impossible to achieve most of the times required. I found doing remote play on my PC and then using the cursor keys works a lot better. I’ve not tried this but plugging a keyboard into the PS4 should also work (PS4 has native Keyboard support but a lot of people don’t know this with Enter being X and Esc is Circle). Maybe having the face buttons on the right map to up, down, left, and right will help – like it does in Hatsune Miku games? Again, you could actually do this in the PS4 Accessibility menu as you can fully remap all of your face buttons if you wish.
All-in-all though, I enjoyed the title and I’m going to play it until I get to the end. I probably won’t go for 100% of the trophies, but I do want to see how sadistic the puzzles become later on! One thing I almost forgot to mention is the soundtrack as with all these difficult puzzle games, it has a loop of happy, bouncy music to keep you calm and relaxed whilst you play it. I really liked the music of choice here as it seemed to fit with the black void which contains only a few coloured tiles.
Tiles is a simple puzzle game yet it also gets pretty frustrating and annoying (in a good way!) like all the best puzzle games do. I would have prefered the option to take it on-the-go on the Vita, but the aesthetic doesn’t look bad on a TV and the game works perfectly. The times to beat do seem a little unfair but they can also be seen as a challenge as if you can beat all the times then you surely have the fastest fingers in the West! I thoroughly enjoyed this game and recommend it to all puzzle fans out there who want something to play in short bursts here and there whilst still feeling like they accomplished something due to the difficulty involved.
- Fiendish puzzles that only get harder as you get used to it
- 90 puzzles and a level editor/sharer
- Great, relaxing soundtrack
- Offers a challeneg to those of all ages and skill level
- The viewing of everyone's replays is a great idea
- Controls feel better on a keyboard
- The times to beat seem unfair for the controller
- Can cause frustration and anger!
- I wish the game was portable on the Vita as well.