Tidalis incorporates multiplayer in two forms, versus and co-op. At any point in the game, a second player can sit down at the same computer and start playing; this is possible due to the control scheme, which allows for mouse and keyboard to be mixed and matched however you like. One player on the mouse and another on the keyboard can work in the same well in one player mode, and it works almost seamlessly, though only one stream can be in motion at a time. If you prefer for each player to have his or her own well, just pick two player mode. In this mode, a handicap and a few other customization options can be selected for either player. Online co-op is possible, too, and works similarly to the keyboard/mouse local co-op. Other features that are very co-op friendly are the revival function in Brainteaser mode and the co-op items, which can only be used to help your partner.
The fact that co-op is available in any game mode is fantastic, and goes against the current trend to tack on a single co-op mode for bullet point purposes. How many times have you played a game where a friend or family member walks by, sees what’s going on, and starts offering advice? Well, if you are playing Tidalis, they can just have a seat and start helping you at any point. Then, when (or rather if, as the game is really addictive) they get bored, they can just walk off and leave with no restarts or other negative effects. This is drop in/drop out co-op at its absolute pinnacle.
As far as replay value goes, Tidalis is a heavyweight. Between all the different game modes, you can look forward to many hours of play. All manner of modifiers can be thrown in, many of which change the game significantly, like extra gravity which pulls pulses down a level. As the parent of a color blind child, I was very pleased to see high contrast color schemes available as an option. You can tweak almost anything you like in Tidalis, and if it gets overwhelming, you can check out the wiki that Arcen has developed to help players out. Modders can create their own levels, themes, and even their own adventure modes. It’s a customizer’s dream.
I was extremely impressed by Tidalis. Arcen has shown a dedication to co-op, both in this game and in their previous AI War. During the beta, the developers were willing to listen to some suggestions we made which added to the high degree of co-op throughout the game. If you have even a passing interest in puzzle games, and are a fan of co-op, Tidalis is a title you must check out. For ten dollars, you cannot beat the value.
The Co-Op Experience: Players can work together to solve puzzles in either multi well play or a share well scenario. Different power ups can be used to assist your partner to complete the level.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.