Puzzle games about falling blocks are a dime a dozen. However, while many simply seek to ape the legendary success of Tetris, few try to recreate the most fun part of actual physical blocks. I’m of course referring to building the most ridiculous structure you can think of and then knocking it over like a tiny Godzilla.
The developers at Herringbone Games are clearly more in tune with their inner children than most. Their puzzler Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) seeks to recreate your fondest memories of playing with blocks, and, with a few hiccups, it largely succeeds.
FALLEN FROM BLOCKY TOWERS
Everything about Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks), from its presentation to its plot, is gleefully silly. A world full of anthropomorphic food and household items is being assaulted by falling blocks. As Master Stacker, Rockit, your goal is to stack the blocks and keep them from making a mess.
Accomplishing this is deceptively simple, gameplay-wise. As blocks fall from the sky one at a time, you stack them on a platform, with the goal of getting the stack up to a certain height in order to advance.
The blocks all have different sizes and shapes, and keeping your tower upright quickly becomes extremely tricky. Physics-wise, the blocks behave exactly as you’d expect, so all it takes is one unsteady placement to send half your structure tumbling to the abyss. In most modes, you only get three mistakes before it’s game over.
The game throws even more wrenches in the works on top of that. Randomized puzzle blocks routinely fall, triggering mini-games that give you extra useful blocks if you succeed.
Plus, the rules of the game will even change between levels as well. Sometimes you have to deal with an extremely small platform to place your blocks. Other times you might actually need to AVOID building your structure past a certain height instead. There’s a surprising amount of variety for such a simple game, and it keeps things fresh.
TOWER OF THE SHADOW OF BLOCKS
The core gameplay of Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks) is impressively solid, which unfortunately does make its shortcomings much more obvious. These are mostly found in the single-player mode, where the game largely tosses you in with an incredibly minimal tutorial.
The game itself is also surprisingly hard, especially due to its randomness. In particular, the par times for getting an extra reward on each level (which you can use to customize Rockit) seem especially brutal. The aforementioned mini-games are also mostly pretty basic, which slows down the action.
That said, the game truly shines in multiplayer, where the randomness of the blocks and constant threat of failure turns from frustrating to hilarious. It also gives you even more of an incentive to succeed at the mini-games, as you potentially deny an advantage to the other player.
Ultimately, scoring this game is its own balancing act. If you’re only going to be playing the single-player, I’d rate it lower and recommend you pass on it. However, if you have someone else to compete with, it becomes an absolute blast and I’d consider it nearly a must-buy.
Oh, and before I forget, at the end of each level you get to destroy your tower with a wrecking ball. That wins it some points for sure.