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 (140 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 16, 2010
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  • "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

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
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
Tidalis is a 2D puzzle game that is kinda a cross of match-3 and Tetris. Blocks of various colors drop from the top of the board, and the player can click any block to cause a stream to move in the direction(s) the arrrow on the block points. If it hits one of the same color, it's redirected in the way ITS arrow points, up to 3 blocks each step. It's a simple premise, but Tidalis contains an almost limitless number of spins on this basic format with special modes, block types, speeds, gravity, and any number of other ways to mix up the formula. for the price which this game frequently goes for, it's absolutely worth the price.

My one negative aspect to this game is the adventure mode - it's very long, and a large number of the levels rely too heavily upon luck of what the board looks like in its initial state: many levels are only rarely winnable, so it can be frustrating to try to work your way through the campaign and have to restart a level repeatedly just to get favorable conditions.

At any rate, it's unique among match 3 games, so if you're looking for something that feels both familiar and unique, you should give this a look.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
23.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 23
Got a friend? No well maybe give this a pass.
Otherwise this game may just be the best experience you'll ever have.
You'll rotate blocks, fires beams, and rotate some more blocks, then yell at your friend for not rotating enough blocks.
8/10 would play again.
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44 of 50 people (88%) found this review helpful
2 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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17 of 17 people (100%) found this review helpful
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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17 of 18 people (94%) found this review helpful
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!

  • 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

  • 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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16 of 19 people (84%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2013
An interesting casual puzzle game. A little like Tetris but much deeper. Its basic rule is to eliminate 3 blocks of the same colors. The difference is that the block is directional. Player have to adjust the direction of every block to chain the stream through as more blocks as possible. When a set of blocks is eliminated, one or more new streams appear to connect more blocks of different colors. The more sets of blocks are eliminated continuously, the more the combos are. This mechanics makes this game deep, complicated and engrossing. This game uses many different conditions to limit player's move, thus making it much more challenging. Finally, the background music is beautiful. Recommend if you just wanna relax peacefully.
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 9, 2014
Tidalis is a cute little puzzler which I find very fun to play. multiple gamemodes make this game hard to put down once you start playing it. The cute visuals and music just seem to meld with each other creating a mesmorizing experience which you have to see and hear to believe.

Visuals (9/10) The tiles are very beautiful, and the colors are just right for a game such as this. With the feature to change different styles of tiles, it just adds to the variety and niceness of the game. The backgrounds are nice and clean, and the overall effects such as wisps when you make matches, the special tiles that change the aspect of the game are nicely done.

Music (9/10) The music for this game is not overly thrilling, but it does add to the overal playing experience. It may be a slight bit repetitive, but that's fine with a puzzler when sound is not all that you should experience when playing a game such as this.

gameplay (8/10) Yes, there are a truckload of different gameplay options such as sun/moon, gravity, water and even the staple of Zen. When put together they just simply make a wonderful gaming experience. Some of the modes (even put together with other ones) can definitely make the game harder or easier, depending on which modes you have enabled.

Overall, I would give this game a 8.5/10 for the features it has. I would definitely recommend this game to my friends if they want a good puzzle game that is both satisfying and difficult (if it needs to be).
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
31.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 12, 2014
This is a tough game to review, and whether it's recommended or not depends entirely on the demographic. Tidalis is a supremely polished and smooth game that has a metric ton of features. The trailers and screens don't do justice to the sheer amount of content that the game contains, and it's a nice tonic when compared to the occasional Early Access flop that you see on Steam. There's clearly a lot of love that's gone into the creation of Tidalis.

Fans of puzzle games will find a lot to admire. The gameplay is very solid with a bewildering array of game options. The adventure mode doesn't take itself too seriously, has a decent sense of humour and is as challenging as you want it to be - handicap adjustments can be made at any time, though the default difficulty provides a good test without inducing baldness. The brainteasers offer another dimension, and the level editor is sound. Multiplayer is available in all modes and works well. Special mention to an excellent OST to round things off. Perhaps I'm sounding overly positive, but I was genuinely impressed with the level of quality that this game presented.

That being said, it's ultimately held up by its own genre limitation - if you're a puzzle game fan, particularly match-3 games, then fantastic! I'd urge you to pick this immediately. But for others, it might all get a tad too samey over the course of the game. Despite some varied gameplay mechanics, it all boils down to the same core principle at the end of the day, and if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea then it might not be worth it.

I'd still recommend it as an excellent example of what a good puzzler is all about; depth, difficulty and variety.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
33.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 18, 2014
Tidalis takes the Tetris genre of games and rips it apart. Tidalis is basically Tetris on steroids.

Like Tetris, multi-colored blocks will fall down your screen at regular intervals. If you match up the blocks correctly they'll be cleared, but if too many blocks stack up (to the top of your screen) you lose. But that is where the similarity ends.

In Tidalis you create "streams" to clear your blocks, and with clever positioning it's possible to use streams to clear blocks all across the play area. As blocks are cleared more streams can be created allowing you to create combos that give you extra points. It's really cool to plan out a chain reaction and see it pay off!

Also, there are about two dozen special blocks to spice up gameplay. Some of these are generally helpful, such as a "quad repeater" -- if one stream goes into the repeater, four come out, meaning you can get some really nice chains or combos going. But some special blocks are generally unhelpful, such as an "idol" block, that will halve the score of any chain that touches it. Usually there are only 1 or 2 special blocks used per level, and you're given a briefing on exactly what they do before the level starts. This is good as it prevents players from getting overwhelmed from the sheer variety possible.

Speaking of variety, there are a ton of different victory conditions to keep things fresh. Remember how I said that quad repeater blocks are generally good? Well how about a level with quad repeaters where the victory condition is to score the smallest chains possible, and the loss condition is to score too many large chains? In that level you'd actually want your streams to avoid the quad repeaters to keep your chains from getting too big!

There are also items that you can use in some levels, for example one item will remove several blocks from the play area and put them in your inventory, allowing you to re-arrange them at your leisure.

There are also many different game modes. For example in "Graviton" game mode your streams are affected by gravity, meaning they do not go up as far, but they go down much further.

Fortunately there are several tutorials for this game, and a Custom Game mode where you can experiment with all the multitude of options.

There is also a Versus mode where you play against other human players, and a Co-operative mode where you work with other human players to beat a level! There is a level editor included so you can create your own levels from scratch!

Finally, there is Adventure mode, which is the main single-player campaign. Whoever heard of a Tetris-genre puzzle game having a single-player campaign with a storyline??? I think that was a pretty nice treat. There are 115 levels in the campaign, with another 100+ optional "Brainteaser" levels. If you get stuck on a level you have the option to skip it, but I'm pleased to say I was able to make it through the whole campaign without having to skip any levels, so the difficulty level was about right. The Brainteaser levels are quite different from normal levels. In Brainteaser mode no blocks fall from the top of the screen, you are only allowed to create one stream, and you have unlimited time to postion your blocks and ponder your one move.

I thought the soundtrack for the game was well done. It is a mix of both cheery and soothing piano tunes.

If there is one criticism it's that the single-player storyline seems to be geared towards young children, but the difficulty level of the puzzles is geared towards adults. But it's not good to be too critical on that point, I'm astounded the game had a storyline at all!

If you like Tetris-style games or really any puzzle games at all you should check out Tidalis.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
Tidalis is a simple puzzle game based around destroying blocks by use of energy beams! Which sounds a lot more exciting than it is. Essentially you point blocks that drop down in tetris-like fashion in a specific direction and attempt to create a laser-path that passes through 3 or more blocks of the same colour. It leads to the occasional brain-teaser, and is nicely done.

The music to the game is nice and restful, and the graphics are… well, it’s a tetris/bejeweled hybrid. Do NOT expect high end graphics. The background artwork is at turns nice and creepy though. Seriously, those weird mutated animal things in the background are deeply disturbing.

Doesn’t get a huge score, given its derivative nature and lack of ability to completely addict (see Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled), but fun enough for some casual game-time.

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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 9, 2013
A Paladin's Review: Tidalis

This is my favorite traditional puzzle game to date. The graphics are beautiful, the soundtrack is superb and the gameplay is well polished. There's a lot of variety and depth to the stream mechanic which is quite surprising. It's argued that the depth is its greatest weakness but if you're like me, and are tired of dull puzzlers, then you should give Tidalis a try. Recent updates have patched up any remaining bugs Tidalis had and gave it a Linux version to boot.

Important note: this game no longer requires a license key to run. All expected PC settings are here though resolution options are a bit funky. Its due to how the art is rendered and at high resolutions, the game will look smaller and vice versa. Multiplayer worked last I checked as its peer-to-peer and is pretty amusing for a puzzle game.

Tidalis was what started me into the hobby of reviewing games. As such, this review is not how I would do things today, but I'm leaving it up because it's important to know where I came from. I wrote the review in two parts. While it's rough around the edges and then some, I feel that it still holds up.

Beta Blog Review
Tidalis 1.0 Review
Steam Review Updated Blog Post
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2013
I don't normally like casual puzzle games, but Tidalis got me addicted. Its mechanics are fairly unique and it has a ton of variations so it doesn't get monotonous. There's a story mode to introduce you to everything the game has to offer, a brainteaser mode where you have to clear the board in one move, an option to randomly set up a game for you, and a multiplayer mode. You can also set up custom games with whatever parameters you want (which special blocks to use, which playstyles to use, time limit, board size). The soundtrack is also good, and it changes based on how you're doing in the game.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 25, 2011
Tidalis combines the best of match-three and falling block puzzle games. It can be fast and frantic or simple and relaxing, depending on which options you select and combine from the dozens and dozens of different gameplay modes. The singleplayer story is also ridiculously long.
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27 of 50 people (54%) found this review helpful
73.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2014
I hesitated quite long about whether I would recommend this game or not. But in fact I think that Tidalis isn't interesting enough to be honestly recommended, or maybe to only be to mega fans of puzzle games. Indeed, there are a lot of possibilities in the gameplay and the different modes and it can hold some players in front of the screen for a good time, but the difficulty is quite insane sometimes and very irregular all along the adventure.
Some achievements are quite hard or at least very long to unlock, but you can get most of them by simply letting the game play by its own. Yes you're reading well: By its own. So where is the reward? In contrary, most of the hardest levels are useless in the adventure, rewarding nothing at all, and can easily be skipped if you lose (which will arrive quickly if it's hard).
So what is the purpose of this game? To beat some puzzles from time to time maybe, or literally go through the adventure, but clearly avoid playing too long at once, it could annoy you very quickly. Personally after clearing this game to 100%, I don’t want to hear about it anymore… ever!
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 11, 2014
It's Arcen Games' vastly under-rated puzzler. Cross-platform, reasonably priced, challenging, a horse and cart load of game modes, cathartic -- what more do you want?
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
17.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2010
Pre-Release Review
A really great game which, on the outside, may look like a match-3 game but is much more innovative than that. Blocks have arrows on them and matching three of them will send a stream in the direction of those arrows. You change the arrow's direction on each block in order to chain matches and keep combos going. There's heaps of variation, too, with each story level having win conditions and lose conditions. Lots of modifying blocks and environments like stone and glass blocks and water which is continuously pushing blocks upwards. There are some co-op modes and competitive multiplayer which I didn't really take a look at but there's more than enough in here in terms of singleplayer.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 22, 2011
Tidalis is an easy to play match 3 game that manages to break new ground. It revolusiones the genre with the unique streams concept and shows that there is more to things than matching tripplets of blocks. The game is simple to play, yet there is depth in the game, while it is easy to make a long chain, it is trickier pulling off a deep combo. But is all the more satisfying.
The game has a lot of variation, so you are not going to get tired of the same old stuff over and over again. The story mode offers a wide varity of challenges and that is just the start of the challenges.
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 9, 2014
After trying to give TIDALIS a fair-go, I'm throwing in the towel. It's a boring game that hails itself as another "casual-block-puzzler". The mechanics are hard to follow and rather empty. Pre-planning doesn't work as a strategy. And when you get stuck at a puzzle there's really no help in getting past it. Not worth your time or money. Thanks for reading.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
19.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 15, 2011
Tidalis is a puzzle game with a series of achievements called "Chain Me Up" and its various puzzles and characters all bring into play a humanist viewpoint in its forward-thinking look at sex and gender. No character is of the standard "generic white male/attractive female" body type, gluttony is a focus between vegetables being a positive block and "the Eater" being a neutral force but one players may learn to dread (with no actual stigma placed upon it), and to top it all off the infirm and ill, a minority rarely seen outside of seminal malaria simulation classic "Far Cry 2" are given a voice in Pickles, a small demon unable to leave a bubble he requires to survive with his weakened infernal immune system. The game also has a variety of skins instead of just the Popcap standard "regular/colorblind" false dichotomy, all but two of which work for those with rod/cone limitations.

In short, don't just buy Tidalis for its mass of modes and content, buy it because it's the puzzle utopia.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 14, 2013
I like these kinds of games, it's relaxing and a nice way to enjoy your coffee at the start of the day.
Tidalis has a weird story and it's a huge game, lots of levels and a lot of block mechanics to get to know. I like how you can change difficulty as some levels can be very punishing.
But Tidalis is in the end boring and very RNG.
I can't really recommend it (apart from the really weird story) when you have other much better games in the same category like Puzzle Quest.
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