Cheap Shot: Tiki Totems

Any game that hands us super powers without so much as asking us to fill out an application is doing something right. Tiki Totems, a physics-based puzzle game, gives players the power to banish blocks from the world. Complex rock piles are set up in each level, and all it takes is a tap of the finger on a load-bearing stone to make the whole mess come crashing down. As super powers go, this might not sound like a big deal; but hey, it’s more power than we have in real life, so give us a break.

Of course, unleashing mayhem in a game world is only fun if it means something. The goal in Tiki Totems is to clear the stage of all blocks except the yellow one, which is usually perched precariously on top of each stage’s rock pile. When you tap a block and it disappears, all blocks above it fall and settle.

Destructive power is the best kind.

So what happens if your precious yellow rock touches the ground or tumbles off screen? Countless lives are lost in a thundering eruption of smoke and lava. That’s right, the volcano in the background isn’t just window dressing.

Darker rocks are rubbery and cause falling rocks to bounce. Black rocks are permanent and impervious to your taps. Pink rocks will only disappear if touched by another pink rock. Later levels require a combination of smart thinking and trial-and-error to get through. All of this adds up to an engaging puzzler made specifically for the touchscreen.

The main problem is that Tiki Totems never gets very difficult. You can play it while half paying attention to something else, like a geology lecture or a phone call from mom. Casual puzzlers or gamers on the go will appreciate this, but hardcore puzzle fiends might want to seek their fix elsewhere.

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