Who doesn’t love a game with monkeys, Bamboo and bananas. If I had to sum up Tiki Towers 2 in three words then those would be the first I could think of.
Tiki Towers 2 is a sequel to the original, and much loved, Bamboo using, bridge building physics puzzler Tiki Towers. Released at the tail end of 2008, when World of Goo had not yet reached iOS, Tiki towers was an original and fresh concept. However, in today’s world, with a more saturated market, how does this hold up?
The answer, in a nutshell, is relatively simple. With two years since the first release back on the first iPhone and iPod Touch, you’re going to have quite a bit of progress with the game engine and the software that it will be played on. You can see how much this has changed; Retina display support is introduced, this really benefits those playing the game on a newer device, don’t worry though, it drags the older devices behind it, producing some pretty decent graphics on those as well. The only complaint I have about the graphics happens to be the weird monkey “tombstones” which signal the end of a level. The grinning monkey faces on them do look quite creepy.
Of course, graphics aren’t the only thing a game needs, though they do help with gameplay; quite a lot in fact: without graphics there would be no gameplay. Anyway, as I was saying, this game isn’t all about graphics, as with most Games on iDevices, they want to pull you back after the first go, unlike console games this needs to utilise addictive gameplay, rather than an interesting storyline. Unfortunately, the game seems to skimp on some of the addictive features and instead threads a rather weak excuse of a storyline through the levels, giving the game a linier feel to it. Even so, they did include multiple paths throughout the gaming world.
Somehow, the developers over at RealArcade managed to make these more, as your told, “adventurous” paths a key part of the game meaning that you have to do these levels eventually and are in no way, shape or form an optional experience. Thankfully, this has no real effect on the levels themselves, meaning you have a nice interactive menu with progressive unlocks and a few cut scenes now and then, nothing that affects the quite gameplay.
In no way am I saying it’s a bad game, just yet, I just feel that the original formula, that worked well in the first game (much like the way Cut the Rope’s level system works), should have been brought across, along with other parts of the game that were transferred. One annoying flaw that they transferred across is the control system. Using the same controls for two different things was one of the silliest game ideas I’ve seen – tying the camera mechanism and the zoom mechanism to the same gesture really makes for an awkward feel, unfortunately.
Another dislike was the eraser, deleting parts is essential to this game where you strive to build bridges and towers as sturdy as possible while also remaining within a limit of bamboo pieces. There are two ways to delete and neither of them are particularly accurate, definitely not good for your daily commute on the bus to work. The first method is the, supposedly, precise way of deleting single pieces. It’s too precise, it often gets you drawing more bamboo rather than deleting what you actually want, leading to you going round and round in circles until, that is, you decide to use the other tool. I think it’s best not to go into detail about the other tool; let’s just say It’s like trying to cut a piece of paper with a chainsaw: perfect if you don’t actually need anything at the end.
The campaign length really saves this game, in a weird and wonderful way. It’s just about right for me, not too long that you get bored and leave it to be forgotten about in the dusty recesses of your iPod, but also not that short that you can easily confuse it with a free trial of the full game. However, longevity may seem an issue on first glance.
However, it does feature some replayable aspects with the inclusion of not one but two ranking systems for each level – the amount of bananas collected gives you a trophy colour from Bronze to gold and another title is awarded depending on how many Bamboo pieces you use. These range from Baboon Brain to Rain Monkey, Rain Monkey for using the least sticks. Though this isn’t really a strength of the game, it’s not really a weakness – it is nice to go back and replay levels while using less pieces or try to collect all of the bananas, although it is quite limited and does get tedious after a while.
If you care to take time to master, or in a more likely scenario – put up with the controls, then you may find the concept of a great game, however the concept is muffled by the, let’s be honest here, awful gameplay. Working around the controls is a hard feat although once you have completed all the levels that it has to offer, you do get used to them. That is if you can avoid throwing your iPhone across the room prior to the half way point!
(Originally posted by Chris Thompson on www.AppGamer.net)