Game: JOIN tiles – Anatolian game to play
Genre: Puzzle, Casual, Indie
System: Steam (Windows and macOS)
Developer|Publisher: Emin Kağan KAYAK | PiKa Game Studio
Controller Support: None
Price: UK £2.49 | EU € 2,99 | USD $2.99
Release Date: February 13th, 2023
Review code used with many thanks to PiKa Game Studio.
The puzzle game JOIN tiles – Anatolian game to play is a jigsaw-like, beautifully crafted one with a unique premise. Players put together broken plates, and each puzzle comes with a short history of the plate’s art.
The Gameplay of JOIN tiles
Like most jigsaw-like games, JOIN tiles is a fairly simple game. Players can choose from various broken plates, putting the pieces back together. There are currently three themes in the game: cyberpunk, Anatolian, and cat-themed plates, and this is a place for a fourth theme as well.
Each plate is unique, with a wide range of art across the themes. Each is beautiful, set on a gorgeous background, and accompanied by pretty music as well. JOIN tiles seems to be all about doing simple point-and-click jigsaws in a relaxing environment. There is no races or timed puzzles, no points or anything similar to worry about. Just you and the plate.
The Upsides of JOIN tiles
This game is so pretty! JOIN tiles has a lot of visual beauty. It’s clean, it’s cute, and within the realm of jigsaw-like games, it has a unique thing going with the broken plate idea. After each puzzle is complete, players get to read a little short history of plate artwork, tiling, and other art.
All the plates have around 25-40ish pieces. Each theme has about 20 broken plates to fix in each, so this game has a lot to do. For around $3 USD, that isn’t a bad deal if you want to complete all the puzzles.
The Downsides of JOIN tiles
Oh boy, where to start with this game? Despite JOIN tiles‘ pretty exterior, it’s got a lot of unnecessary processes running under the hood. I have a fairly good gaming laptop, and my graphics card was whirring to keep this game running; I actually had to turn down the visual settings to get it to run smoothly. There isn’t much to this game; it’s simple and clean with nothing fancy or extra, so it shouldn’t be pressing anyone’s computers to run well.
The puzzles themselves are pretty janky. The puzzle pieces must be lined up almost perfectly into its spot to count. One of the puzzles was missing a piece, which would have been caught if this game had ever seen a QA tester. When players pick up the pieces, they autorotate to what their orientation will be inside the puzzle, taking a lot of the difficulty and fun out of the puzzles. While JOIN tiles‘ little factoids are fun, they are repetitive, and most seem to have grammatical issues in them.
There is only one song in JOIN tiles, and while it was fun at first, I ended up muting the game and supplying my own music after a while. I can only listen to the same 3-minute loop so many times before I start to lose it.
While I have no experience with this myself, I have read in other players’ reviews on Steam that the developer has been informed of the problems with the game, but they have not seemed to display much interest in fixing the issue. This is just a rumour, so that I would take it with a grain of salt, but if it is true, it doesn’t bode well for any fixes for this little project anytime soon.
JOIN tiles feels like it’s in Early Access or Beta testing and not a finished product. Overall, the idea is wonderful, but the execution is lacking. I really hope that the developer takes some time to add a little more love and time to this game to make it live up to its very pretty potential.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure.