With over one hundred collectible cosmetics to chase and a unique gameplay loop, Treasure Stack is a new puzzle game looking to quench your thirst for both single and multiplayer frenetic fun. For me, when I think about puzzle games I tend to gravitate towards Tetris before anything else especially because learning the mechanics of a new puzzle game can sometimes feel like you’re ingesting a new language with how everything interacts on the board. Couple that with the fact that most puzzle games ramp up the speed and become fever inducing the longer a round goes and anxiety can set in. Luckily, in this scenario learning the flow of Treasure Stack is rather simple, while putting in the work to master the nuances can result in hours upon hours of enjoyment.
At first glance, Treasure Stack may seem to take similarities from games like Yoshi’s Cookie or Wario’s Woods but once you start up the tutorial and start playing for yourself you’ll see there’s a different type of strategy and finesse involved. You control your pixelated puzzle hero across the bottom of the board swapping out chests hurriedly to make matches and keep the stacks low while avoiding the garbage blocks that spawn. Your objective is to match the same colored chests and use keys of the same color that drop to remove them from the board before any stack reaches the top of the screen. At first this can seem easy but as soon as the board speeds up it becomes monumentally challenging, not in an unbearable way, but one that allows for those looking to become masters to have something to work towards.
Though the variety of game modes is lacking, there are a bevy of options in which you can play solo or with friends– offering both local play for up to four players or the ability to challenge opponents online in casual, ranked, or private lobbies. I did play/review the game prior to launch so I cannot comment on the stability or ease of matchmaking. It would’ve been nice to see some variations or additional modes to play, but the satisfying gameplay and ability to rank up and receive new cosmetics should keep you interested and replay value high since you do have something to work towards.
The most unique feature to Treasure Stack is how it blends light platforming and a grapple mechanic to the puzzle shifting. The grapple mechanic acts as a way to pull the falling chests down to you instantly so you can skip between columns and throw them down where you need them. Unlike most other puzzle games focused around falling blocks, you can also pick up stacks that have already landed to create combos and maximize clears. Once you get a good rhythm, hopping around and hooking chests down is easily the most gratifying element of Treasure Stack as well as it’s most unique element.
What developer Pixelakes concocted in this unordinary puzzler is addictive bliss with the allure of cosmetic collecting, both resulting in a high replay value and that shoulder nudge for one more game when you see your experience bar at the end of a match knowing that another game will grant you a new cosmetic. I would have really loved to see the gameplay mechanics flourish in other game modes offering different twists, but I do believe that the core gameplay is enough to satisfy puzzle fiends and novices alike.
Treasure Stack is available March 1st for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Steam. For all things indie game related be sure to follow us on social media, join our Discord, and listen to the Pass The Controller Podcast.