Thanks to PIXELAKES for the review code
Title: Treasure Stack
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 03/01/2019
Treasure Stack aims for the usual pixel art look that is seen in a lot of games like these, and it’s rather dull. The player sprites are overly simple, the backgrounds are boring, and the UI isn’t much to write home about either.
Same goes for the soundtrack, which is entirely forgettable and generic, and there’s honestly not much else to say, especially when you have unlockable characters that still fail to look remotely interesting and worth playing over the equally dull default ones. I honest to god, cannot add much else to describe here, it’s just cookie cutter.
When I originally asked to cover this game back in 2019, the main draw for me was the promise of a Wario’s Woods esque tribute, and indeed, that’s what Treasure Stack definitely feels like it has the most inspiration from. The main goal of this game is to pair colored keys with the corresponding treasure chests, unlocking chests and creating chain reactions as you go for the highest score and to beat your rivals, by stacking and moving the chests around, using your grappling hook to help pull and organize yourself into doing that.
…And that’s literally all there is to this game. One motivator for me holding back on the review for a bit was the fact that the base gameplay loop, while fun, was far too slow, but they’d be adding content updates later down the line to help with that. They did eventually add an update that allowed for customizable speeds, which made playing solo way more fun since you can start things off frantically! Yet besides that, I couldn’t seem to find anything of note added to the single player/offline offerings, with most things being geared towards the multiplayer.
The other setback? Well, that whole 2019 mess on my mental health, and 2020 as a whole. Thus, I come to this game with a 2021 mindset, now that the game is seemingly a complete product with no updates in sight, and has seemed to be all but abandoned. So, just how is Treasure Stack in its final form?
The good news is the game controls pretty decently. Moving and picking up stacks is fast and responsive, and I didn’t have much issue getting my character to do what I wanted to, even if I felt that it was a bit clunkier than Wario’s Woods, with me struggling to lift only portions of a stack rather than the whole thing. Still, I eventually got the hang of the gameplay loop, and did get some decent enjoyment out of gaining a lot of coin from chain reactions, for a brief period of offline scorechasing play.
Yet outside of that? Not much else to say. The multiplayer match I played with my IRL friend wasn’t that fun, and online multiplayer? Good luck getting anyone on board in 2021, as a good half hour of waiting led to not one soul joining me in my game sessions. Bear in mind, this game has crossplay, and I made sure it was enabled, so this game is completely dead on all platforms. There also doesn’t seem to be any method of fighting CPUs in place of real people, which completely blows my mind since that alone could have bumped this game’s replay value up by quite a bit, yet as it stands now, it’s forever a real person only affair… Probably something intended for those updates that never came, giving me bad vibes to Strikers Edge in the sense that it’s an incomplete game being dripfed over time, only to stop before it was fully realized.
In the end, this game ended up being one that fell victim to the great depressive drought of 2019, and now that I’ve finally caught up to it, after only a few updates were done to it? Treasure Stack still feels incredibly shallow, and while I’m glad to see my gripes with the game speed are fixed, there’s still next to no content to enjoy whatsoever besides a basic scorechaser mode and multiplayer, and it’s just baffling that even now, some developers insist on the whole “finish the game later” mindset, that ultimately leads in a lot of these games grinding to a halt with still barely anything of significance going for it.
Alas, the same is true here, for the online is entirely barren now, and with so much of the focus dumped into multiplayer modes that are practically worthless, (And not even that fun with the local friends I did manage to bring over) I just can’t understand what Treasure Stack was going for. With several more local modes, and just a bit more tweaking, this could easily be an addictive, fun modern take on the Wario’s Woods formula, but as it stands now, this just ends up being a forgettable puzzler that pales compared to the inspiration.
I give Treasure Stack a 3 out of 10.