The casual games market is flooded with block games. Since the original Tetris people have been fascinated by the slow downward movement of blocks in varying shapes and sizes, frantically trying to place them in thoughtful positions in order to fight the rising tide. But in this day and age even the faithful block game is forced to dress itself up a little, put on some heels so to speak to impress the gamer. TiQal delivers. It separates itself from the pack with the addition of 14 powerups which affect the game in a variety of ways; removing blocks from the field, forcing the wall to retreat or adding to your score. Other items can be collected along the way to help you in your quest.
The story mode revolves around an ancient South American quest to save your village by asking the gods for help and like most ancient mystical quests, this one revolves around working through a series of obstacles which conveniently come in block form. As you progress you are rewarded by different block types and powerups which create a gentle learning curve, allowing you some time to get used to forming squares of matching colours and stringing those combos together.
Multiplayer while not groundbreaking in any way is a fun diversion both locally and over Xbox Live although it’s almost the same game as the single player but with a little help from one of your friends. A lack of any competitive game modes to pit you against your friends or even AI like that in Lumines or even Tetris cripples the multiplayer and leaves you expecting more. Clocking in at 120 levels TiQal has plenty of challenge to offer but the cost of 800 Microsoft points may deter you.
The bottom line being TiQal is an above average block game trying to be different and aimed at a slightly younger audience. It’s by no means a bad game but not quite the market leader either.