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Candy Crush Copenhagen?! Tivoli Puzzle Review

A derivative but charming puzzle game with a unique sense of style and culture.

I stopped playing Candy Crush Saga around level 100 -- at the point where it threatened to either become an addiction or a frustrating bore. To call Tivoli Puzzle simply a Candy Crush clone would be accurate in this sense, but unfortunate. Whilst this Match-three puzzle game for iOS and Android makes no attempts to reinvent the polarizing formula perfected by its behemoth precursor, Tivoli Puzzle injects refreshing character and style into the mix.

Created by PointVoucher in association with Tivoli Gardens -- an historic amusement park and gardens situated in Copenhagen -- Tivoli Puzzle is part game and part interactive travel brochure. Upon entering the game for the first time, you’re greeted with a sprawling and beautifully illustrated map of the park before meeting your enthusiastic guide -- the mustachioed park attendant.

As the delighted screams of roller-coaster riding children drift through the air in the background, there’s an immediate and inescapable charm to Tivoli Puzzle. Each group of levels is set to the backdrop of a ride or park feature, like the epic Rutschebanen Coaster (running since 1914) or the ‘Friday Rock’ concert stage where we can watch our rosy-cheeked mascot beating the hell out of a drum kit to rapturous applause.

 

Game or Advert?

Tivoli Puzzle is simultaneously a clever advert and a heartfelt love-letter to Tivoli, displaying a plethora of unique information about the world’s second oldest still-operating amusement park. In fact the game reveals more than a quick Wikipedia search, and presents it in a much more engaging way.

By logging in with Facebook, players can connect to PointVoucher and earn in-game reward points to spend on the site. These can be redeemed for vouchers including free meals and ride tickets at Tivoli. It’s a nice touch that gives incentive to keep playing; but unless you’re already planning a trip to the park it won’t be of much use. Don’t worry though, you can play the game without collecting voucher points at all.

Either way, it’s quite easy to rack up the score, making you feel like you’re constantly progressing and being rewarded for it. Each level also has a 3-star rating system, providing some replayability for the completionists among us.

 

Puzzle Me This

Tivoli Puzzle’s gameplay is strong; but that’s only because it straight up copies a perfected formula (albeit very successfully). The basic premise sees the player trying to match up 3 or more identical pieces on a jumbled up grid by swapping adjacent tiles. Each time a match is made, the successful tiles disappear and new ones fall into place. Each level has a specific goal, such as clearing a certain number and type of tile with a limited number of moves, or wiping out layers of jelly and ice cream cone “blockers”.

This simple (yet addictive) gameplay loop is complemented by an increasing complexity and all of the bonuses we’ve come to expect in Match-three games. Matching larger strings of tiles creates more varied bombs which can be activated at the player’s discretion to blow away whole lines, chunks or colors from the board. From Cluster Bombs to Vacuum Bombs, these bonuses each have nuanced benefits and threats (such as wiping out any other bombs on the board without activating them), which make their use strategic and vital in clearing some of the tougher levels.

 

Take My Money

As you encounter new challenges -- such as changing gravity which causes tiles to fall in from different directions -- you’ll need to adapt and take multiple tries to pass later levels. If you get truly stuck, there are always the dreaded in-app purchases. As a free-to-play game, Tivoli Puzzle offers optional boosters for a price. These include providing extra moves and swapping tiles freely, whilst diamonds can be bought to skip tough levels all together.

Each of these has had a thematic makeover for the game, from the 19th Century Strong Man who hops onto the screen and smashes a tile with his barbell, to the pantomime Harlekin who gives you extra bombs. These unique designs add a distinct personality to the game that perfectly reflects its theme park roots.

Unfortunately, it can feel like these micro-transactions are all but required to pass certain frustrating challenges. Between each group of 10 levels, you’ll have to take on a set of 3 timed challenges in a row without failing once. These tasks can sometimes feel arbitrary or nigh impossible without the use of the paid boosters, draining a good chunk of the fun and momentum from what is otherwise a well-balanced experience.

 

Despite this limitation Tivoli Puzzle is an accessible, fun and good-looking game that will hook Match-three puzzle fans by executing a tried-and-tested method with finesse. With around 70 current levels and a promise to "continue to develop with new attractions, levels and surprises", the game should keep players entertained.

If you’ve somehow managed to clear the stupefying 2,740 levels of Candy Crush Saga or are looking for a new fix, Tivoli Puzzle will definitely scratch that itch; and hey, you just might learn a few interesting real-world facts along the way!

Our Rating
8
A derivative but charming puzzle game with a unique sense of style and culture.
Reviewed On: iOS
Published Nov. 7th 2016

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