By – Steven Smith

Tic Toc Tower Review 1

Your goal is simple, find the exit and go through it. The gameplay is familiar; run, duck, slide and jump over spikes and across platforms as you make your way to the goal. There are no foes to battle nor coins to collect, just you and a single room. This is the premise behind the Sneaky Mammoth studio game Tic-Toc-Tower. There is one catch however, you must reach the exit in less time than it took for you to read this paragraph.

As soon as each level loads a 10 second timer is started, when it reaches zero the game is over. Each level is a single room with a start point and an exit. Going through the exit earns you a point and starts another level. Raise your score by successfully navigating an endless path of randoms rooms. When the game is released there will be leaderboards where you can show off your high scores and compete for the top slot.If you are fast enough you can try for the one and only pick up in the game, extra time. Somewhere in each level there is a clock, picking it up earns you an extra 2 seconds in the next room. This is the only way to increase your time limit, leftover seconds are lost rather than rolled over to the next level.

There are a number of maps in the game, some fairly easy and others are frustratingly complex. Some have floors that make you bounce or a snowy static occluding your vision. One level is zoomed into your character so that you can’t see the rest of the room to even know where your goal is, another is zoomed way out so that it takes up only a fraction of your screen and you can barely tell where your character is. There are even levels that rotate! When completing one level the next is chosen at random, which means the player has to take moment of their limited time to study the layout of each and every level. The developers are promising to add a wider variety of levels, possibly even a level designer tool for user generated rooms. This is welcome news as there were a few runs where I kept getting the exact same 2-3 levels over and over again.

Tic Toc Tower Review 1

My one major complaint about the game is the controls. There are only four commands; Left, Right, Jump and Duck. If you move and duck at the same time your character will slide, this is helpful for getting under certain obstacles. This control scheme sounds simple enough, but I had a hard time with it when playing the game. The controls are very sensitive. When depressing a movement key the character lurches forward and often keeps moving after the key has been released. Even a quick tap of the left or right movement keys makes the character travel a greater than expected distance before coasting to a stop. I found myself constantly missing jumps or over-shooting my landings. I’m not sure if this was intended to increase the difficulty, but in my opinion Tic-Toc-Tower already offers enough of a challenge with the random levels and short time limit without adding to the frustration level by making it hard to play.

One interesting feature is the inclusion of a local multiplayer mode. Up to four friends can play together competitively. In this mode points are awarded to the first player to reach the exit, at which point everyone is transported to the next level. The game becomes a mad dash to see who can reach the goal first. The clock pickup is still present in multiplayer, but it no longer adds time. Instead the player who gets the clock also earns a point. There are many rooms where the path to the clock looks quicker or easier than the one leading to the exit. It may be worth ignoring the exit and grabbing the clock for points in a multiplayer match. Of course that plan could backfire if another player reaches the exit first and ends the level.

The graphics are in the simple 8 bit style, not that you have much time to really look at them too closely. The background art has just enough detail that you notice it, but not so much that it distracts you from playing. The music gets fairly repetitive, but again the fast pace of the game means you won’t really notice.

Tic Toc Tower Review 1

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

Tic-Toc-Tower is due to be released later this year and has the potential to be a really fun, fast paced and challenging title in the same vein as Tetris or an endless runner. Having a multiplayer mode really makes it unique in the puzzle game genre. I like how the gameplay has been contained within a single room, rather than the developers trying to add on a bunch of ideas and gameplay elements. It is this simple, almost minimalistic, approach that really stood out to me.  With a wider variety of levels to help break up the monotony, I feel this would be a good buy.

Tic Toc Tower Technical Summary:

Tic Toc Tower Review 1

  • Time Played – 2 Hours
  • Resolution Played – 1360 x 768
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • DRM – Unknown
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard, Gamepad
  • System Specification – 2.93GHz Intel i7 870, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9800GT
  • Game Acquisition Method – Demo Press Copy
  • Bugs/Crashes – None
  • Availability – TBA (Official Site, Steam Greenlight)

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  • TheRileyss

    Seems like a fun game to play, can’t wait until it releases

    • Steven S

      It’s a lot of fun. I was a bit put off at first by the games description, the 10 second time limit sounded like gimmicky mechanic. After about 15 minutes however I really started getting into it.