Tidalis is a block-based puzzle game with casual appeal, hardcore depth, and an addictive new "streams" mechanic. The game is brimming over with riffs and variants on that core mechanic with 20 game modes, dozens of special blocks and items, and 115 levels in the adventure mode alone.
User reviews: Mixed (155 reviews) - 67% of the 155 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 16, 2010

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Reviews

  • "Tidalis is a match-3 game that doesn't feel tired or repetitive: I actually want to play it, which says something considering how many puzzle games I've reviewed. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Tidalis is one of the best puzzle game I've ever played. Simply put, if you like puzzle games (and even if you usually don't), you need to get Tidalis. Right now. Go!"
    James Allen, Out of Eight PC Game Reviews (8/8 score)
  • "Overall, this is the most robust and interesting casual game I have seen in some time. There is so much to do and so many ways to play I don't even know that casual actually suits it. Yes the gameplay is casual but this is a highly developed, well-rounded, offering from Arcen Games that puts many games of higher price to shame. It's got numerous ways to play and very successfully takes an old genre, turns it on its head, and shows you just what can be done when you think outside of the box."
    Christophor Rick, Gamers Daily News (GDN Gold Award, 9/10 Score)

About This Game

Tidalis is a block-based puzzle game with casual appeal, hardcore depth, and an addictive new "streams" mechanic. The game is brimming over with riffs and variants on that core mechanic with 20 game modes, dozens of special blocks and items, and 115 levels in the adventure mode alone. The basic rules of the game are this: blocks fall down into the board and have a color and an arrow direction. If a stack of blocks exceeds the height of the board, you lose. In order to clear blocks, you must right-click and drag paths through the arrows to set up chain reactions of like-colored blocks.
If this sounds simple, that's because it is -- you'll be lining up lengthy chains within minutes. But you'll be surprised how much brainpower it takes to set up combos of multiple chains, and the many brainteaser-style puzzles include some real stumpers. Tidalis has co-op and competitive multiplayer modes (both online and offline); action-oriented modes and timer-less brainteasers; a lengthy, casual-friendly adventure mode; twenty unique game modes providing innumerable twists to the basic gameplay; dozens of special blocks and items; and over fifty minutes of beautiful music to go with the painterly art.
In short, several games' worth of content are built on top of this core mechanic, which you'll quickly find to be as iconic as it is novel.

Key Features:

  • Puzzle game with casual appeal, hardcore depth, and an addictive new mechanic.
  • Two-player co-op and competitive play (both local and networked).
  • A wide selection of both action-oriented or brainteaser-like levels.
  • Casual-friendly adventure mode, hardcore-focused custom games and vs modes.
  • 20+ game styles, and dozens of items and special blocks.
  • Rich, painterly art style and beautiful music.
  • Players can create and share whole new themes, levels, and adventures.
  • Options for colorblind players, players averse to lots of light and motion, and older computers.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 1.4Ghz CPU minimum, 1.8 Ghz recommended for background animation or multiplayer
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
    • Graphics: 800x600 or greater screen resolution (32 bit color, 1280x720 recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 600 MB
    • Other Requirements: Internet Connection or LAN required for networked multiplayer. Single-computer multiplayer is also available.
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 1.4Ghz CPU minimum, 1.8 Ghz recommended for background animation or multiplayer
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
    • Graphics: 800x600 or greater screen resolution (32 bit color, 1280x720 recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 600 MB
    • Other Requirements: Internet Connection or LAN required for networked multiplayer. Single-computer multiplayer is also available.
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor: 1.4Ghz CPU minimum, 1.8 Ghz recommended for background animation or multiplayer
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
    • Graphics: 800x600 or greater screen resolution (32 bit color, 1280x720 recommended)
    • Hard Drive: 600 MB
    • Other Requirements: Internet Connection or LAN required for networked multiplayer. Single-computer multiplayer is also available.
Helpful customer reviews
21 of 21 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
30.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 29, 2015
It is awesome.

If there is a thing which is under appreciated in Steam, it is this game. I know it sounds a bit exaggerated but it is not. If you like Match-3 games, you will definitely enjoy this one. And if you don't like those games? You may enjoy this if you have any friend that enjoys those games. Since it has local coop, with different players for keyboard and mouse. Yeah, it is that unique.Sounds non-playable? It is not. I have tried doing the missions with my sister.

First of all, I should explain what is going on here. Tidalis is built upon a very unique mechanic called streams. Normally, in a match 3 game, you are supposed to check out the screen for any connected same colour areas, or try to create them. While you are at it, you also try to calculate the next steps, for that looking above from your next move's location would be enough. Each step is basically the same thing, algorithm generates new blocks to ensure there will be next move, while you are supposed to find the next move. In a sense, this is what makes match 3 games a bit puzzle like.

Tidalis is more hardcore than that. Being connected does not ensure your move will be resulting in erasing those blocks. You actually have to rotate them conveniently, so that once you make a move which resulting a stream, stream would pass all the same colours. What is more, streams does not stop when they encounter a different colour. They move up to two squares, searching for a block with the colour of its origin. Sounds confusing? It is a bit confusing. So, basically, you are not trying to build colour "areas" to eradicate the blocks, you are trying to build "pipelines" to ensure once you start a stream, it will travel as long as possible in the screen, touching as many as possible blocks with the same colour. So, it is quite possible to find a move destroying 200 blocks, even when they are non-connected.

And like in match 3 games, it is also useful to think about the combos, what will happen when the new blocks fall below. But since all of the board is so interconnected when it comes to possible moves, if you are trying to be fast, you will definitely not be able to calculate all possible streams across all the board. If there is no time constraint, you can design your stream maze so that, with one click, you can erase all of the board. I guess you can see how Tidalis gets nearer to puzzle genre than your average Match 3 games. In some of the cases, there really is only one correct move, but it is not that it is the only possible one.

What is more? There are two game modes in Tidalis, and also skirmish like thing, which u specify victory conditions to play the game at your pace. Non skirmish modes are Puzzle and Adventure. Puzzle mode is basically what the name implies. There is a board at your disposal, and you have only one move to make. If you choose the correct move, you will trigger a chain reaction, causing a new stream each time, clearing the screen. There wont be any falling down blocks from above. And you will win. It is that simple, and fits in the same game mechanics. To be honest, I finished like %20 of the all puzzle levels, it is not that they are not enjoyable, but I liked Adventure more.

What about Adventure. In adventure, there are 115 levels. Each level has some specific objectives like, get a 10 combo, get 4000 points in 60 seconds, don't lose in x seconds etc. But as you progress through the levels, it gets even more complicated, since there are like 20 different new type of blocks, and around 15 special powers coming into play. There are also new board modes, which can alleviate the streams upwards, fill the screen with water and bubbles and blocks do swim in them, which can increase the gravity, so streams fall down much more faster etc. It will sound weird, but this is the first game that uses the objectives of the new level as a reward for the last level. Yes they are that different and unique in themselves. I was like, "oohhh what will happen in this mission" each time, and it kept me playing more once I passed a level.

What is more. There is an inbuilt mission editor. There is not steam workshop, but developers used the forum to collect good puzzles to include them as additional missions. You can feel the love they put in their first such game. There is also a perfect extra adventure consisting of 65 levels which is done by OneMoreNameless. They are even better than the original game in terms of surprising the player with building upon existing mechanics, and telling a story with the missions.

So, why is this game overlooked by so many? First, they try to market this as if this is a casual game. It is not. I can assure you. It is not a casual game at all. After you learn what is going on, mostly there is not any tooltips to help you in your quest. They constantly change the mechanics, the objectives, correct heuristics to reach victory, the tempo, in short, there is not any constant thing in the game which will cause a casual experience. But since it is the first local coop match 3 puzzle game, I guess they tried to reach the general audience to build their customer base on that feature.

And related to that, they used childlike graphics. Really bad graphics, that does not convey how intricate the mechanics are. And to add it up, the game has the worst story and plot twist one can imagine. Why is there even a story to this. I dont know. The story of whole game can be summarized with a punchline, other than that whole dialogs are nonsensical, even for children. The smartest character in the story has an IQ of 40. There is also a really bad "voiceover" which does not serve any purpose other than signalling who is speaking with a croak, or whine. The same croak everytime when a specific character talks. Ugh. It is really bad.

I dont know whose idea was having a story, characters, and voice over is a must no matter how bad they are. But that person was wrong. This game would do so much better without the story, dialogs, and "voiceovers". Together with "casual" graphics, they undersell the game, definitely. There are so much going on under the surface.

What can I add more for negative sides? There are not any bugs I am aware of, and I played this for more than 30 hours. But there may be a need for some tweaks here and there, I already reported them to developers, but they are not no-brainer tweaks, so to sum it up, technically game works perfect. So this was not a negative. What is negative is, balancing is a bit overlooked, there are more than one level (like 5ish) where success heavily depended on random generation of the board, and you wont succeed no matter how perfect your moves are. That might be a side effect on insisting random generation for a game with so many constraints, and I cant see a way of correcting it. But my job is not correcting this.

With all the caveats I mentioned, there really is a hidden gem over here. If you are good with trading and stuff, you might find this game from a trader for as cheap as 0.15 dollars, while I think it worths even full price. If you enjoy puzzle games or match 3 games, or both, you wont regret if you get this.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 8, 2015
Got this "kinda-Tetris-clone" for free and pleased. Neat little game: a good addictive timekiller with pleasant look and interesting puzzle stipulations. Gameplay has variety but tutorial is too long and boring IMHO. Also story feels like unnecessary filler - I skip all the cutscenes right away. But in general for the price I've paid - 0 dollars - I can't complain. At all.
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46 of 54 people (85%) found this review helpful
37 people found this review funny
247.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 13, 2014
I spent 240 hours grinding my last achievement.

I'm thinking of idling other games so people stop looking at my games library and asking why I've played more Tidalis than Skyrim.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
25.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
Got bored after 25 hours, but still - Tidalis is very fun to play.
I was kind of addicted to it for the first hours, but that 'spell' somehow dissapeared.

Anyway if you are a fan of such games, you should definently give it a try.

6.5/10 (which is good in my opinion)
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
53.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2014
Quick review:

Short Verdict: Wow. I started playing this game thinking: "Well, if I got this game, might as well try it for a few minutes before I get bored and move on". Lesson learned: don't judge a book by its cover! This is an excellent addicting puzzle game with a new twist on match-3 and tetris, but definitely the best I've played of this genre! I don't even usually like match-3 or tetris games--this is for any puzzle lover! If you check how much time I spent on it, plus the fact that I've written 2 guides for it, you'll know I totally recommend this game!

Pros:
  • Addicting new dynamics to match-3 and tetris, creating a really fresh gameplay experience
  • 115 adventure levels and 69+ puzzle/brainteaser levels (I've even found an extra 70-level fan-made adventure mode in their official forum)
  • Includes editor and you can exchange levels with fellow players
  • Color-blind blocks available, as well as many other models if you don't like the original
  • Lovely piano BGM
  • Beautiful background graphics
  • A LOT of gameplay modes, each feeling unique, not just something to pretend there's more content (there are so many modes that you can't even find them all in the main adventure)
  • Co-op mode with distinct gameplay
  • You can really feel the difficulty rise as you progress in the game
  • Handicap options if you think the game is too easy/hard
  • Even now the devs are always ready to support you here in Steam forums

Cons:
  • You need to send files outside the game to share levels
  • The game is definitely for adults, since it gets hard pretty quickly, but the theme and story is rather childish (you can skip the story, though)
  • It has a lot of unexplored potential, like the many game modes that weren't used
  • Playing online co-op mode is really hard, since it has barely any active community
  • There's so much terminology that it takes quite some time for you to get used to it (like "chains", "combos", and "color reaction")

Bought on / for: Indie Bundle 3 by GreenMan Gaming for an average of US$ 0.60 (R$ 1.47). Seriously, taking out the 10 hours of idling, I still paid less than 2 (dollar) cents for each hour of fun. Even taking the bus to the beach is more expensive! (not that we nerds ever do that) Even if I'd paid full price, it would've been worth it.
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