Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of Tribloos 2 - Time Management Optional

I've got an ambigious relationship to puzzle games. On the one hand I think they can be an awesome way to spend those tidbits of time you find yourself with here and there, on the other hand I am easily frustrated and pretty much require a simplistic gameplay to stick around. This means I pass over more intricate puzzle games like Braid, Myst and Safecracker immediately whereas I'll play Bejeweled or Tetris as much as the next person. I think where I get frustrated is whether I have to figure what needs to be done to move on or not. Games like Bejeweled or Tetris are extremely straightforward as to what the goal is, doing it as good as possible is the challenge. Games that require logical and/or out of the box thinking are just not for me. It's funny then that eventhough I do enjoy the simplistic puzzlers, I spend exactly zero amount of time on Facebook and smartphone games. I think the cash-grabbiness that haunts 95% of those games has just sucked the fun out of it for me... but that's a topic for another post!

Didn't even hear about the first game...

Then you've got the puzzle games that are a little bit inbetween, like Tribloos 2. And I think in a way they might be the best ones. Because as a time-management game, Tribloos 2 gives you the incentive for careful planning and logical thinking, but the gameplay is designed so that it's not necessary. Getting a good time score is just a bonus to your points, not a requisite to advance in the game. That suits me perfectly.

Funnily enough, my very first thought when starting up Tribloos 2 (I've got it on Steam) was that it looked exactly like a Facebook game. I mean this in the same sense you can recognize a 16-bit or 64-bit game by their aesthetics, you can pretty much spot a Facebook/Ios game by the way they look as well. I had never heard of Tribloos nor Tribloos 2 and I have no idea how it ended up in my Steam library. Probably the same way a lot of other games have, through some bundle or other (I've found surprisingly many good games through bundles).

The story of Tribloos 2 is simple enough and obviously just an excuse to get the puzzling going. You're basically controlling a bunch of Tribloos that need to rebuild various buildings throughout the 75 stages that the game apparently holds (I've currently reached stage 50 or so). At first it reminded me a bit of Lemmings in that you need to manage where to go and what to do with the Tribloos. Different buildings allow you to harvest recourses (there are also resources scattered around the stages) that allow you to build further buildings - in this it reminded me a bit of games like Settlers or Warcraft (without any of the fighting). The challenge lies in managing your recources and Tribloos (technically also a resource), so that they're put to the most effective use throughout the stage.

Tribloos can't breathe underwater, silly buggers

The stages vary from forest, to air, to sea, to underground (at least as far as I've come) and the game throws in new recources and challenges to manage all along. As mentioned, graphically and aesthetically it does what it needs to do without any wow-factor. It gives you information about the stage and is definitely more practical than eye pleasing, but the Tribloos themselves are pretty charming. I find it hilarous that the game actually loads graphics when you start it up, because there can hardly be anything to load.

The game eases you into the concept nice and slow, and personally I don't feel like it ever forces any real challenge on you. This is both its strength and its weakness. If you want to, and don't give a damn about the time score, you can play this game without giving it much thought at all. If you just keep some rule of thumb in mind, like always making sure to build the lumber mill that allows for unlimited planks first, the game rarely throws you any curve balls or tricks you into wasting your resources in the wrong places.

Work work - (

If you do care about the time score however, you'll probably need to scout out the level ahead and plan every step of the way. Some levels throw in an aspect of timing, where you need to deploy your Tribloos at the right time to not waste time. Some levels are basically designed like bonus stages and play a bit with the concept, I definitely prefer the standard levels however. Overall, Tribloos 2 reminds me a bit of Yoshi's Story, or the Hard Modes (not heroic modes) in World of Warcraft. The way you play the game basically decides whether it's going to be any challenge or not. Whether you're going to beat the stage or not is never the issue, whether you're going to do it good and get the extra rewards is however.

I like Tribloos 2, as a game to play for a bit here and there it's alright. It really feels like it's perfectly designed to be played on the go. It's great in the sense that it doesn't matter whether you want a challenge or just something to waste a bit of time with, you decide how the level plays out and this just further emphasises the Facebook-game feel. I wouldn't say it's worth the 9 euro Steam wants for it normally (when posting this it's actually 90% off), because unfortunately the gameplay doesn't feel well enough worked out. Eventhough I enjoy the fact that the game is simple at its core, it's almost too simple, removing a lot of the feeling of satisfaction of completing a stage (a problem I find most Facebook games seem to have). The time score alone doesn't make up for this, personally I would've prefered a more complicated stage layout that required more planning to manage your resources, and not just your time. I am torn between liking that it's not just designed for puzzle nerds, and thinking that that in turn makes it too simple to be worth 9 euro. But if you're into puzzles and have a euro lying around, this might well be worth checking out.

No comments:

Post a Comment