I have a love-hate affair with tile-sliding games, so when I first discovered TileStorm [App Store, I had mixed expectations. Generally, tile-sliding games are pretty difficult (and TileStorm is no different), but the satisfaction that one gets from completing a puzzle is worth the rough path there. TileStorm faithfully delivers this tried-and-true gameplay with some nice, clean 3D visuals, soothing audio, and complete option set.
There are 100 levels in TileStorm, all equally split up between industrial, Egyptian, medieval, and jungle environments, which serve as really nothing more than a set up for some variety in the level-to-level color palette. Your goal as the player is to create a path for "Eggbot the robot" to make his way to the level's exit. This is accomplished by figuring out a way to move around the different tiles that happen to be laid out in a jumbled fashion in select areas of each level. While most levels only require players to solve one puzzle to complete the level, some feature numerous puzzles with pieces that must be re-used.
There's quite a challenge to be had with many of the levels in TileStorm, but players can take their time while playing as their is no time limit or other way to "lose." The game does track your time in the top-right corner of the screen, but this feature is merely included as an option for those who want to beat their own best times. There are no online leaderboards for the game, but I feel that TileStorm gets a pass for excluding this otherwise necessary feature because of the nature of the game; once players memorize the solution for a puzzle improving their own times would become an exercises in finger dexterity, not actual skill, to see how quickly they could mindlessly repeat the motions required to solve them.
TileStorm features a clean 3D isometric perspective, and both the environments and Eggbot himself all look great. The few bits of animation that Eggbot does have all play out without a hitch, and tiles slide along without any lag when prompted with a swipe of the finger. I always appreciate the option to turn a game's audio and listen to my iPod library while playing, and the game offers that up as well. One feature that TileStorm managed to fit in that I enjoyed is an incredibly detailed stat counter for players. By selecting "Game Stats" from its options menu, players of TileStorm can see how many puzzles they've completed, how much time they've spent playing the game and even the number of times that the screen has been touched during play. I think that being able to check out such statistics is a lot of fun, and I'm glad that TileStorm's developer included this functionality.
While I've had a lot of fun with TileStorm, there are a few problems that need to be ironed out. The biggest issue that I have with the game is its level-unlocking system, which requires players to complete all of the levels in one area before proceeding on to the next-- Causing gameplay to come to a halt if you get stuck instead of skipping to a different level. Also, there are some interface issues such as requiring players to completely exit levels to restart them instead of simply having a button in a menu somewhere. However, the developer has been very active in our forums, and these fixes should be coming soon.
TileStorm is a fun, well-made puzzle game that offers up plenty of challenge and hours upon hours of gameplay for those who stick with it long enough to complete all 100 levels. While a few minor issues with the game may cause some annoyance, I don't believe that these problems will be nearly large enough to keep players from having a good time with it. This is not an easy game, but is definitely worth considering if you enjoy a good brain-teaser.