Tidalis, from Arcen Games, does incorporate a basic match three mentality. The minimum number of blocks you can remove at one time is three. But it mixes in a sort of Hexothermic (XBLA), Pilouz (iPhone), spreading ray mechanic that turns match three on its head. The result is a far more complex game than you might think at first.
While the soul of Tidalis is match three, its heart is more logic puzzle with three modes of play. First off is Adventure which is a sort of story mode where youíve got some animated cut scenes that follow a story and present the levels to you. Honestly, I didnít pay a lot of attention to the story, which, as a writer, I should be ashamed of. But I wanted to get into the action of the game and really, with most casual games a rich backstory isnít a requirement. This mode features what looks to be well over 120 levels or so alone and should give anyone enough enjoyment from the game.
The second mode is the Brainteaser where youíve got all the time you need, but have only one chance to get it right. Some of these are rather complex and can be frustrating, or challenging, depending on how much patience youíve got. There is also the Action Sampler which gives you five different levels to play through. What it looks like is that these two modes are meant to just give you a taste of the game and the Adventure mode is the main way to play.
However, thatís all from the Guided Tour which helps introduce you to the game. The Main menu gives you the chance to play single player, play online (more on that later), the tutorials (of which there are LOADS) or jump into the editors to start making your own levels, adventure or theme which is the animated background and props on top of which the level is played. All in all the editors give those of you who want to create your own challenges, more than enough tools to do so.
The game also features multiplayer play in a variety of fashions. There is a local 2-player mode where each player has their own well and they can play co-op, both working toward the same goal or versus where itís a race to finish the goals first. The Network play option also offers a host of ways to play. You start by hosting a game or by finding a game online (LAN or Internet). As the game is only just launched, there arenít any games to be had, however, I am certain that this game will prove popular and that youíll find a variety of opponents to play against in short order. Online you can play co-op or versus, adventure, brainteaser or action, choose from five difficulties and choose a partner who has a skill level from new player to "insanely good" though those rankings are self-assigned so they might be questionable.