I can always tell I’ve found a good puzzle game when I inevitably have that “just one more run” moment. The moment where I start putting everything else off to try and keep playing. For Treasure Stack, that moment came quickly. After a few rocky runs at the start where I struggled to grasp the basics, everything suddenly clicked and I found myself unable to stop.
Treasure Stack, as the title implies, sees you stacking treasure chests together. The goal is to earn as much treasure as possible by grouping chests of the same color and unlocking them with the corresponding keys to get the gold that lies inside. The more treasure you group together, the higher your earnings are. All the while, black blocks frequently drop into the well in an attempt to foil your treasure gathering plans, forcing you to reorganize quickly to keep the field from becoming too full.
It’s a simple enough task, albeit a difficult one. At first, chests fall at a modest pace, encouraging you to pull them down with your grappling hook. They come in pairs, usually of opposing colors, sometimes with a key or an item like a bomb or sword attached. Once you have them, you can start trying to group them based on color, maybe even try to set up chain-reactions if you’re good enough. It begins as a simple, sometimes chill game of organizing. But soon enough, things speed up. Chests start dropping faster, garbage starts appearing more frequently, and whatever carefully formed stacks you’ve formed begin to be buried under the sheer volume of stuff entering the field, at which point it becomes a game of chaos management.
Treasure Stack is about speed. You know how in Tetris blocks fall at increasingly faster speeds on higher levels, forcing you to quickly figure out where to place them ahead their arrival? Treasure Stack is sort of like that, but constant. Only instead of trying to fit things wherever you can, you’re constantly reorganizing to keep matching chests together. It’s absurd and sometimes overwhelming, but always a ton of fun.
The game can be played either alone or with up to four players either locally or online (with cross-platform play enabled), and it shines regardless of what mode you decide to play. Most of my time was spent playing solo, in part because I haven’t been able to properly organize any multiplayer games locally, but also because, with the Switch version especially, it lends itself well to being something I can pick and up play a few rounds of whenever I want, which is always a plus when it comes to puzzle games.
Multiplayer is where Treasure Stack definitely shines, though. While the game is basically the same regardless of whether you’re playing solo or with a group, there is one key difference between them: how garbage is used. When playing alone, the garbage blocks fall at set intervals, the time between which shortens over time, making them a permanent obstacle. In multiplayer, they act as weapons. The better you do, the more garbage your opponent has to deal with, and vice versa. Play then becomes both a race to stay ahead while also using enough calculated plays to give your opponent a hard time. In the time I’ve played Treasure Stack online on launch day, I was already encountering people who seemingly had a strong grasp of what high-level play looked like. I didn’t actually see it in action much myself, granted (was too busy focusing on my side of the screen to watch them in action), but the results definitely speak for themselves.
My initial impression of Treasure Stack was admittedly not positive. The suggested focus on multiplayer left me worried it wouldn’t hold up as a single-player experience. As someone who primarily plays puzzle games as a means of killing time, being forced to play competitively isn’t something I’m often up for when it comes to puzzle games. Thankfully Treasure Stack holds plenty of longevity as a solo joint in addition to being a fantastic multiplayer game. I can already see myself coming back to this a bunch. Hopefully a good community forms around it so that the online remains active as well.