Treasure Stack is a puzzle game published and developed by PIXELAKES LLC , which seems to be heavily inspired by NES title Wario’s Woods. The game is most definitely not the worst puzzle game around, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the same addictive quality as its spiritual predecessor and lacks the character necessary to stand out among other modern puzzle games, making it an average experience at best.
Treasure Stack has you play as one of several characters, — some of which you have at the start, while the others must be unlocked as you progress, — and stack treasure through running, jumping, grappling, and picking up chests, keys, and items that will help you clear some of your stack in a certain direction. As you stack treasure, you have to match same colored chests and open them with a key of a matching color. Seems simple enough, but as you stack treasure a meter fills up which eventually drop demon runes that stack the treasure higher. A number of these demon runes can be destroyed when a row of chests are open or with various items, but the lower your combo the more often they appear, making it much more difficult to multitask. The frequency can be reduced however as long as you can manage to keep your combo multiplier at five or above, but you have to work fast if you want it to stay that way, and the multiplier only lasts for a limited time unless you score another combo.
While the treasure, keys, and items are slow to fall down, your character is equipped with a grapple to pull them down faster. Like the characters, a number of grapples must be unlocked, although this time you only have one at the start instead of several. Despite each grapple having a different appearance, they don’t seem to have any kind of unique abilities and instead only provide an aesthetic change, in the same vein as the playable characters. The grapple is also limited to pulling blocks down until you’ve for the most part, so although being able to zip to the side in a more straightforward fashion would be an appreciated addition, players hoping for full side grapple control are out of luck. This is somewhat disappointing, as the gameplay doesn’t have the addictive qualities of its inspirations, and provides less to make it stand out among them. For a game that boasts “Over 100 hero and grapple customization items to unlock and equip,” it doesn’t motivate me much to actually find out for myself what these specific characters and weapons are, especially when the differences seem purely cosmetic.
Another problem is that characters can only jump one block high, so if you don’t create a series of steps leading to the higher parts of the stack as it fills up, you may find yourself in trouble. Being able to jump up to two blocks high would help give players a little more breathing room, especially when first learning how to play, but for now the one block jump is what we have to deal with.
Technically there’s only one level, in which you keep going until you’ve had to many blocks reach the top. Looking at the same level over and over becomes boring over time and some level and background variety could have helped Treasure Stack be at least a little less monotonous. On a similar note, since you’re playing the same level you just hear the same track repeatedly, so you’re better off listening to other music instead.
While Treasure Stack is a mediocre puzzle game, I feel that most fans of Wario’s Woods and other similar titles will be left disappointed by the lack of features and distinct gameplay mechanics. Treasure Stack offers both local and online competitive play with different types of matches, seasons, the ability to screw up your opponents when you have higher combos than them, and even exclusive lootboxes. Still, I feel that players are more likely to find more enjoyment in another puzzle game; one that actually manages to break the mold.
If you’re new to the genre, then trying out Treasure Stack definitely wouldn’t be a bad idea, but it may not keep you entertained for very long and might leave you feeling more frustrated than satisfied. If there are some updates to the game in the future that add some of the features I mentioned, they’d certainly help Treasure Stack shine, but for now it seems that there are a multitude of other modern puzzle games to appease curious players.