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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stackle - Game of the Day

What is it?Stackle is a physics-based puzzle game in which your objective is to increase the height of a tower of blocks by reorganizing its compositional pieces.

Who made it? – The game was developed by Nate K. of NATEK Games.

How does it play? – If Tetris and Jenga hooked up after a late night of drinking, the resulting offspring would probably be something like Stackle. You begin with a large tower composed of blocks of various shapes and sizes. Using your mouse (and a steady hand), you need to remove blocks from the foundation and place them on top of the stack to increase the size of your tower.

A white line near the top of your tower indicates your new tower-height goal. Once your tower is taller than the height marker, the blocks below will become usable, once again. Using a block filled with stars will give you extra point multipliers, and blocks can also be rotated for a more ideal fit.

The game is over when too many blocks fall below the height objective indicator line, though having part of your tower collapse doesn’t necessarily guarantee failure. Fallen blocks can be picked up and reused, and you can even scroll to the left and right of your tower to view and select the fallen blocks.

Presentation – The game is visually minimalistic, with a clean look and interface complimented well by the brightly-colored blocks. The physics are also fairly well done, and thankfully aren’t too bouncy or unmanageable. The upbeat background music and sharp sound effects are also fitting, and can be toggled on or off.

Positives – The experience is easily accessible, due to the simple and recognizable gameplay mechanics; however, it still manages to feel like a fresh experience. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by casual players, but that also might satisfy high-score chasers.

Negatives – If you want to rotate a block before placing it, you’ll need to select it and then click the picture that represents how you’d like it arranged. Simply being able to rotate the blocks using the arrow keys would be nice.

Why you should play itStackle is a fun and interesting twist on otherwise familiar puzzle gameplay mechanics. Successfully adding another tier to an already precariously balanced tower is rewarding, and overall, it’s a fun way to put a temporary restraining order on boredom.

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