Tiltagon Review - Roll Up, Roll Down, Just Roll
Platform: Windows - Steam
Tiltagon is a simple game that has nothing complicated about it. That doesn't mean it's easy -- far from it. "Simple to learn, hard to master" may be something I say far too often. But it's a phrase I love, and it describes this type of game perfectly.
In Tiltagon you control a ball that runs along a hexagonal based track. Your aim is to complete the level as quickly as possible, without falling off the sides -- unless you are playing Endless mode, where your aim is to collect as many rectangles as you can. Every time you collect one, a new platform rises up with a new rectangle. Do this simple task over and over to survive as long as you can.
Simplicity hides a layer of complexity
...the first 3 levels [are] trivial, but getting through them fast is far harder.
These sorts of games, where you roll a ball through a level, have never been inherently complicated. Getting through the first 3 levels is trivial, but getting through them fast is far harder. The challenge mounts as Tiltagon literally tilts the levels -- while disorientating at first, my brain managed to work out what was going on. However, some of the uphill sections are not always obvious, as there are no real reference points for you to judge from. This can lead to you making mistakes, which to overcome, you simply have to learn where to jump from. It's not instantly rage-inducing, but does create a slight annoyance the first time it happens.
It's the pounding rhythm of the night
Tiltagon has an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) back drop. While I usually try to stay clear of such music, it adds a strange sense of tension to Tiltagon. EDM's purpose is to make you want to dance -- it has a strong beat, with loose melody. With the beat pulsing through you, it makes you feel tense without you actually being under pressure.
Roll around in many directions
This keeps you on your toes, you have to always be moving...
Tiltagon gives you 3 different control methods, keyboard, mouse, and controller. Using keyboard is undoubtedly the worst control method of control, as it only gives you 8 directions of movement, whereas using the mouse or controller you have almost 360 degrees of movement and can change your speed. I found the controller to be the best control method, but that's my youth of console playing coming out. The mouse was a very well done control method, where you move the mouse away from the center point to make the ball roll faster. I just find using controller helps me to change direction more quickly.
Platforms of death
As you roll about, the platforms become unstable, pulsing in time with the music they tumble into infinity after several seconds. This keeps you on your toes -- you have to always be moving, which adds another level of pressure on top of what the EDM is giving you. In the hardcore mode, as you have one or two platforms activated at any one time, it makes it far more tense. You must dart across each platform, quickly but also ensuring you are doing it safely. You encounter new hexagon traps, and have to learn what to do.
Endless mode was the most fun I had with the game, giving me a mix of stressful moments, but also calmer moments. Of course, this is all luck of the draw, as new platforms are random. Appearing in a possible six directions, you have no idea where the next platform will arise, again adding to the tension.
It all comes to an end when you fall
I think Tiltagon is the fastest loading game I've played, with an instant restart. Even booting the game up is near-instant. That's even without running it off my SSD. Without feeling too punishing, but challenging, Tiltagon manages to find that near perfect balance. You're never quite annoyed at the game, as every mistake is your own, but you're also never just breezing through.
I only found one bug, which was aggravating when it popped up -- when restarting a level, sometimes a platform would just not be there. It always seemed to happen when I was on a super slick run, but it's a minor inconvenience that doesn't destroy Tiltagon.
Well that all sounds wonderful...
...if you are a fan of rolling balls around, and simple games which are actually very complicated, Tiltagon is an excellent example of this. Even the art style is beautifully simplistic -- it's all based around hexagons, and block colours. Tiltagon offers a fun challenge, where I wish there were more levels. If only there were a level editor.
I give Tiltagon an 8/10. While challenging and fun, it executes it's singular focus masterfully.
You can grab Tiltagon on Steam now.
[Note: A review copy of this game was supplied by the developer, Kiemura.]