Competition is fantastic, be it in video games, sports or to be quite honest any form really. It’s exciting. It’s tense. At times, it can be heart-breaking. But that feeling of going toe-to-toe with your opponents and coming out on top is always a rewarding one. In the gaming world, for me, that’s winning that final fight against my brother in an all-night session of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or putting in the best time in the office in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Rainbow Road or sliding the disc past my mate and into the goal in an epic long rally of Windjammers.
Gaming isn’t always about being the best though. Sometimes the focus can shift to working together as a team and this too can prove just as entertaining. The Left 4 Dead series, for example, was my first real introduction to a game that didn’t just lightly encourage the idea of teamwork but rather made it an absolute essential. Other series at the time like Call of Duty might have included team-based options sure, but at the end of the day, you were just combining scores with your group whilst doing your own thing. As fun as that can be I truly appreciate a game – much like Left 4 Dead or the more recent Overcooked series – where your ability to clearly communicate, delegate and, of course, gel as a team is key.
Enter Tick Tock: A Tale For Two, a game that for starters not only needs two players but also two devices be it Switch consoles, PC, smartphone or tablets. This may immediately raise a red flag for some – the idea of having to purchase two copies of the game is about as appealing as it was back when we had to do it for certain games on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. The argument here though is that without two devices, this game simply doesn’t work. In fact, it’s because of this specific feature that Tick Tock: A Tale For Two is able to craft some truly challenging and fun two-player puzzles.
The game plays out in familiar point-and-click fashion, interacting with anything you can within the environment in the hope of finding clues to help solve puzzles. The difference here is that what you will be viewing on your screen is completely different to what your partner can see. Cue plenty of puzzles where you’ll need to combine the information you’ve both gathered in order to figure out where to go and what to do next. It has an almost escape room-like vibe about it that I absolutely love (helped by the fact I happen to enjoy them in real life).
As you can imagine you’ll be talking a lot whilst playing this game, throwing information and suggestions back and forth from start to closing credits. In fact, my wife and I found ourselves constantly stating just about everything we could see – even the tiniest detail – just in case it meant something to the other player. There were also plenty of notes being taken down on paper, a method we found to be helpful throughout. It helped give the game a great old-school vibe and really made you feel more involved with the game’s overall air of mystery. You felt like a detective of sorts.
Some puzzles are more obvious than others but all present a satisfying solution. One fun example – and skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers – involved a train ticket torn in two with each of us possessing one half. On the ticket was a grid highlighting the route of a train. Of course, I could only see the final half of the grid while my wife had the first. Once we’d carefully managed to describe our sides my wife was then able to enter the details into a machine to continue on with our journey. A simple puzzle at its core but one made all the more interesting thanks to the added problem of the need to effectively communicate with one another.
The game’s presentation is best described as simple but effective. There’s little to no music but if anything it only serves to heighten the eerie atmosphere created by the dark and gloomy visuals. While it’s not going to win any awards in either department, the puzzles and clues are at the very least clear and easy to interpret. Likewise, there is a story to be found within Tick Tock: A Tale For Two but if anything it takes a backseat to the puzzles themselves.
Tick Tock: A Tale For Two is a fun and engaging co-op puzzler quite unlike anything I’ve played on Nintendo Switch. It’s use of two screens and heavy reliance on communication and teamwork offers an interesting wrinkle to the point-and-click genre and results in a rewarding experience – albeit a short two hour one – worth losing an evening to.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Other Tales Interactive