Kiemura Ltd(PC), NoodleCake Games (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
PC (Reviewed), Android, iOS, Windows Phone
March 29, 2016 (PC), April 9, 2015 (Android, iOS), May 8, 2015 (Windows Phone)
₹169 (PC), Free to play (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
Some games have a hard mode. Some games are designed to be hard. Tiltagon seems to belong to the latter category. The game is a deceptively simple arcade game about guiding a ball along a track to the end.
You might wonder what’s so hard about that. Well, the track in Tiltagon is made up of hexagonal units, and given that your control options are limited to the arrow keys on a keyboard, the thumbstick on a controller and the mouse, moving the ball around deftly is quite tricky. I found the mouse to be best suited to this task and the keyboard was the worst way to control the ball simply because it can only move the ball at a 45° angle rather than the 30° or 60° required by a hexagon.
This may not seem too hard, but then you have to consider the game’s camera. Tiltagon offers a very different perspective, making the track seem like a wall and playing with your sense of spatial awareness. The ball might seem to travel almost upside down in some places and that can play tricks with your mind. There are no checkpoints on the track so any failure requires you to start from the beginning. You do get used to the track after a while and can then navigate it smoothly enough until you run into the next challenge posed by the game.
Having gotten over your spatial awareness issues, you might find Tiltagon a bit easier, but then you will run into the challenge posed by the various tiles themselves. The game has 10 different levels, each introducing some new challenge in the form of differently shaped tiles. Some tiles are sloped and can cause the ball to fall off while others have moving objects that can push a ball away. Some tiles even tilt or move while others have holes in the middle.
This might still seem quite fine, but then you see the last trick that Tiltagon offers. The Tiles disappear. You are on a timer and must quickly get past all the tiles, because soon you will find that the tiles of the track that you have crossed are slowly disappearing. The game won’t offer you any respite, not even on the final tile. You must hit the centre or watch it disappear. Also, the game offers up to three stars per level for the fastest time.
The issues with controlling the game and the odd camera angles stem from the origin of the game. It was deigned originally for mobile devices which can be tilted to control the movement of the ball. In the tilted perspective, the camera angles make a lot more sense than on a fixed PC screen. Tiltagon is one of those mobile games whose transition to PC hasn’t quite been as smooth mainly due to design choices not native to the platform. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however, as it can make the game even more challenging than originally intended.
You will fail a lot in Tiltagon. But that’s okay as it will make beating the level only that much joyous. If beating predesigned levels isn’t your thing, the game also offers an Endless mode with options called Hard and Hard+ as if the levels themselves were the easy part. In Endless mode you must collect a cube from a newly spawned tile. At any time, there are only two tiles on the screen, one of which will soon disappear. Since there is no indication as to what tile will spawn next and where, it becomes a game of chance whether you will have a good run or fail very quickly. Hard+ includes the added challenge of not touching any objects on the different tiles, and makes it almost impossible to get a good score without being gifted with some excellent reflexes.
There are global rankings for your scores in Hard mode and your times to complete the levels. Earning stars of hitting certain milestones in endless mode will unlock a new skin for your ball. This is purely cosmetic and has no effect on gameplay. There are some sections in some of the levels where your ball must jump over a slope and this is the only time you see the game’s gravity in action in a way that doesn’t lead to failing the level. Having just 10 levels can make the game seem rather short on content, and with some skill and dedication, one can finish the game in a couple of hours. Endless mode offers a good distraction, but doesn’t have lasting appeal.
The art style of the game is rather minimalistic with coloured surfaces rather than textures. The Soundtrack is an electronic beat that adds to the urgency of the gameplay. The Hexagonal theme continues in the UI with clean looking menus and icons.
In conclusion, Tiltagon is a highly challenging puzzler that can easily induce ragequits, but doesn’t offer enough content to keep you playing beyond a few hours, though for its price that’s a pretty fair deal.
+Simple Minimalistic Design
+Small learning curve
-Design issues in porting can lead to strange camera angles
-Difficulty of game may not appeal to everyone