Author Topic: First impressions. :)  (Read 3387 times)

Offline Mivo

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First impressions. :)
« on: August 14, 2010, 03:27:36 PM »
I've always had a soft spot for puzzle games, and the first one I remember playing was some kind of underwater puzzle/arcade game on an Amstrad CPC back in the first half of the eighties. I've gone through a Columns addiction on the Atari ST, the inevitable worshipping of Tetris on a Gameboy (even though I so loved the Atari Lynx!), and all sorts of creative and not so original puzzlers on different platforms. The latest being various games on the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, namely Planet Puzzle League and Lumines.

Anyway, on the PC I play mostly RPGs and strategy games these days, plus Go, the Asian board game. Puzzling on the PC has taken a backseat. Or rather, had. A few days ago I browsed the catalog at GamersGate and spotted Tidalis. I had never heard of it and may have skipped to the next game had the description not included a snippet of the game's Eight of Eight review. I've come to value his reviews because they're always to the point and I find myself often agreeing with his gaming preferences, at least for the games that I have played. It had a small price tag, so I went straight ahead and bought the game.

After a couple days with it now I have to say I'm deeply in love with Tidalis! The charming art style, the happy music, the friendly story, and above all the intriguing gameplay, they all make for an amazingly good experience. It's a bit like Tetris, but not really, and a little like Planet Puzzle League and other Panel de Pon variants, but not really, and a tad like those Match-3 games, but not really! It's Tidalis, and it's new! It feels fresh and innovative, it tickles the mind, and the best of it is the huge number of different modes that allow you to customize Tidalis to play exactly the game you want to play and that you're in the mood for. There's so much flexibility that it feels like ten titles combined in one game!

It's also addictive. I sometimes wonder if I've become jaded, seen too many games, played too much, one of those "when I was young, games were just better" guys. A video-gaming version of Statler and Waldorf. But Tidalis showed me pretty quickly that it's just a matter of finding the right game and the fire, the "just a few more minutes" drive, jump out of the bushes and grab me. Not that I really have time for an addiction, but darn it, it's nice to wake up or come home and think, "Woo! There's this awesome game waiting for me!" (which, when the sun comes up, turns into a, "Grr, why did I have to buy this!" ;)).

In short, Tidalis has taken me in a storm and I'm having a blast with this puzzler. I'm pretty sure I'm going to play this for quite some time, and I almost hope it doesn't work on my netbook so that I don't end up playing it in the bathroom! (It probably does work, though my netbook has a peculiar resolution of 1024x578).

Thanks for the game! I'm not done with the story mode or the puzzles, and I haven't even tried out all the modes (so far I just enjoy the normal mode + speed-up, which is probably terribly traditional!), so there is a lot to discover and do still. And I saw there are custom puzzles, an online mode and user-made blocks! For just ten dollars, this was a real steal. You guys need to advertise Tidalis more. :)

Thanks for the game. :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2010, 03:32:02 PM »
Welcome, and we're very glad you're enjoying it so much :)

And we want it to be advertised more and are taking what steps we can, but we're way too small to actually have a big advertising budget, so it's mostly just what the distribution outlets, reviews, and players do :)  Word-of-mouth has worked very well for AI War, and we're hoping it will do so for Tidalis as well.  Certainly a lot of positive things being said.
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Offline Mivo

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2010, 03:45:37 PM »
Word-of-mouth has worked very well for AI War, and we're hoping it will do so for Tidalis as well.

I'm pretty sure it will. :) If this had been released on the Nintendo DS, you'd have a huge following already. But I have no doubt that the game will attract more and more players. It's very playable, fun, and actually fresh. It probably suffers a little from the "match 3" stigma and the over-abundance of "match 3" titles. It doesn't even fully fit into that genre, but that's something the word of mouth will definitely help with (and actually, it may even be an advantage)!

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2010, 03:50:11 PM »
Yea, I'm convinced Tidalis will sell well eventually, it's just slower getting to that point than we were hoping.  In retrospect I think those hopes were unrealistic, as it was still an indie puzzle game released with very little public pre-release exposure.  Sure, we have a pretty significant number of fans that think Arcen Games is the best thing since sliced bread, and that's helped push Tidalis up into decent sales, but even they can't overcome the sometimes-harsh reality of what makes a successful marketing effort ;)

But yea, it's set to do really well over time, with proper tending :)
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Offline Mivo

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2010, 04:12:16 PM »
Arcen Games' good reputation is well-earned, though. You guys do fantastic community work, AI Wars enjoys the reputation of the best AI (I haven't played it yet, but I saw it mentioned again over at Stardock's Elemental forums, which allowed me to chip in a mention of Tidalis!), and Tidalis is fresh and creative -- so, I think you worked hard for the good reputation that you undoubtedly do have.

I currently work for a smallish company that runs a free-to-play social online game (vanity items for money, much like a glorified graphical chat room), so I can relate to the marketing budget issues. We don't really have one either. :) On the upside, it means not having to deal with marketing people. Back during the "internet boom" in the second half of the 90s, I worked for a Fujitsu spin-off (WorldsAway) and my three bosses were the marketing ladies. Trying to get their needs and expectations under the same hat as the users' needs and desires wasn't a cakewalk. But yes, having a marketing budget is nice.

It's difficult to actively help with spreading the word, though. I plan on putting up a small review at GamersGate, which I can probably recycle for GameFAQs, but exposure for niche/indie games is extremely low there (people need to know about the game before they'll find it). I can probably get a mention on the web site of the German gaming magazine "PC Games" (used to work for German publishers in the 90s, not anymore though, just some connections here and there left), will have to ask or write it myself.

Hmm, these threads always get chatty. :)

Offline Spikey00

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2010, 07:53:43 PM »
I wish for you and your own company the best of luck with your ventures, Mivo!  :)
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Offline regnared

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 10:57:37 AM »
Wow Mivo, thanks for your efforts to spread the word about Tidalis! Means a lot to us at Arcen. It's a lot of work to get mentioned, but worth it if it can get people to play the game and have fun.:D


Also, like Spikey00 said, best of luck with your ventures!  :)
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Offline Panopticon

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2010, 01:22:30 AM »
I just picked this up through the GamersGate sale (and I activated on Steam :p ). I am pretty enthralled, right off the bat. The music, the art and the gameplay come together just right. So many modes too. It's the perfect wind down after getting my butt kicked in AI Wars. I also really appreciate the fact that the game can be installed over Steam, or standalone with the GamersGate service. Little touches like this, and the outstanding support and dedication to your games has really impressed me. Thanks for doing what you do, Arcen. It's companies like yours that have kept me gaming when it seems all the major publishers are out to punish the PC community these days.

I'm definitely looking forward to your future projects, and of course, I'll tell anyone that will listen about how rad you all are.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2010, 08:09:26 AM »
Thanks for the kind words, we're really glad you enjoy the game.  And welcome to the forums :)
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Offline regnared

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2010, 10:23:58 AM »
Happy to see you've checked out Tidalis! Glad you're enjoying it! :D
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Offline Panopticon

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2010, 03:14:30 PM »
After being so impressed with AI War (so brutal, yet so awesome), I grabbed the demo for Tidalis. After about an hour with it, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to get it.

I can't wait to see what you guys have up your sleeves for A Valley Without Wind and Alden Ridge.

Offline Mivo

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2010, 03:01:44 PM »
I just picked this up through the GamersGate sale (and I activated on Steam :p ).

I didn't know this worked, but just now also successfully registered my GG-bought copy on Steam. :) I have mixed feelings about Steam, though, and normally just use it when there's no alternative to it (Puzzle Quest 2, Civ5 in a couple weeks). Games start more slowly for me, I have to run the Steam program, and offline mode has not always worked flawlessly. I like the community aspects, the cloud, and the online achievements, though.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2010, 03:13:39 PM »
Yea, any license key (whether from us directly, Gamers Gate, whatever) can be registered via the "retail activation" feature in steam to get access to all the usual benefits of having bought the game through them.  Conversely, if you buy it through steam you can use the license key in a copy obtained directly from us or anywhere else, if you want a copy that works without steam running.

As far as steam itself and mixed feelings, I can understand not wanting to run the app all the time, etc.  But let me say that in our interactions with Valve we have found them to be really great in terms of both integrity and competence.
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Offline Ozymandiaz

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 05:06:00 AM »
Just recently picked Tidalis up myself :)

Only had 20 min last night for the tutorials, but so far soo good! :D
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Offline DakaSha

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Re: First impressions. :)
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2010, 06:07:13 AM »
I just now bought the game despite not being a puzzle gamer and having not read a single review.. I didn't even read the steam "advertisement" fully.
I know its a puzzle game by arcen.. thats it. I was gonna talk my GF into buying it because she is actually a puzzle gamer but what the heck. If i like it she can get it and we can multiplay ^^

So basically: I guess I'm a fanboy and (once again) just want to show my confidence in arcen ^^
The price def made the decision easier though :P

Anyways I can prob offer a very unbiased review after playing it :P

To be continued..