More fun than a barrel full of, well, you know.
Budding engineers looking for some practice should download Tiki Towers, Real Networks' enjoyable puzzle game for iPhone. Instead of lining up falling bricks and clearing gems, the game's developers challenge you to use bamboo sticks to construct towers and bridges, the goal to create a structure that'll hold five monkeys as they swing from point A to point B. With a cheery presentation and tons of head-scratching levels, it'll keep you busy for hours.
Tiki Towers is broken up into five tropical islands with nine levels each. The first few stages feature a tutorial that serves as the foundation for the rest of the game. Each puzzle has limited number of bamboo sticks to use and various metal nodes to attach them to. In order to secure the loveable monkeys' safety, you'll need to put some thought into what you want to build. This usually involves some pre-planning, because in order to succeed, all five monkeys must reach the goal. And if you're a perfectionist, you must also collect all of the bananas strewn about the stage. Snag them all, and you'll receive a gold medal and unlock various awards along the way.
To place bamboo sticks, you simply touch one of the nodes on the iPhone screen, adjust the positioning and release. Although that works fine, deleting them is more frustrating than it should be. Instead of pressing a button and accessing an erase mode, you tap a stick to get rid of it. Unfortunately, the game often mistakes deletion for wanting to place another stick of bamboo, so you'll need to wrestle with this glaring flaw in order to make things work. Restarting a level adds to the frustration, since the game does not erase your previous creation, forcing you to delete everything again.
As expected, things begin easy enough; you'll probably blow through the first island in several minutes. Later stages, however, really taxed our brains. Building something that enabled us to complete a level was easy. Grabbing all of the bananas, on the other hand, was significantly more challenging. It's also a huge disappointment watching something that we thought was structurally sound collapse from too much weight or simple human error, but the game's so addictive that seeing that fueled our desire to succeed.
With all the Bejeweled and Bust-A-Move clones out there, Tiki Towers stands out as one of the iPhone's most unique puzzlers. The fact that is has a bunch of crazy monkeys and bananas is a bonus. Since Real Networks has it on sale for .99 (this expires January 18th), there's no reason to avoid this monkey swinging good time.
What's Hot: Bright and colorful 2-D graphics, lots of smiling monkeys, 45 challenging puzzles, numerous awards to unlock, catchy music.
What's Not: Game often mistakes erasing bamboo sticks as wanting to place new ones.