REVIEW: ‘Trenga Unlimited’ Is Rather Limited (XSX)

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Trenga Unlimited - But Why Tho?

Trenga Unlimited is the console port of the mobile game Trenga developed and published by Flux Games. It’s a simple puzzle game akin to a 3D Tetris, but easier and with little pressure. I like a good puzzle game. Unfortunately, this isn’t really it. In Trenga Unlimited, your goal is to pick from one of the three random block shapes you’re given and place them into a four-sided tower to fill in the empty spots to clear each row. Each row consists of all four sides, so you won’t be able to clear it unless the row is filled in all the way around. As you progress in the game, you’ll also encounter glass spaces—that can be filled in but don’t have to be for clearing—bomb spaces, and ice spaces that will add a bit of pressure. But not too much. The game has a generously long timer in its storyless story mode, allowing you ample time to clear each level.

The only incentive to go fast is the three stars you can earn for clearing certain requirements such as a certain number of points, not turning or mirroring your pieces—the two moves you can make to fit pieces into the tower—or using certain buddies on the level. Buddies give different perks like longer combo timers or extra points for certain moves. The stars don’t seem to have any purpose though, besides feeling good and unlocking system achievements/trophies. They’re not required to advance to certain levels or to unlock anything in the game.

The gameplay is a neat concept. I didn’t have a bad time playing it. It’s just that the game itself is rather unpolished and none of its limited aspects have me incentivized to keep playing. Were there more things to unlock or a greater level of challenge to it all, I could see myself wanting to beat the game or unlock all of the Xbox achievements. But alas.

There is also a Survival Mode, where every row you clear brings about a new row, possibly including bombs or ice to make things more challenging. This is, in fact, a difficult mode. Those bombs are no joke, blowing up surrounding pieces if you don’t clear them fast enough. And as you work to weave a perfect wall of pieces fitting just right, they’ll make little one or two-piece holes that will require you to purposefully place bigger pieces on top of them to fill them in, but you lose oxygen, aka your timer, which is only replenished by clearing rows.

If only the whole game had this level of intensity. As soon as the bombs are introduced in the story mode, things get way tougher. Like, way tougher. Too tough even. It’s overall just unbalanced; either easy and unfun or too hard and frustrating. Not to mention that the music, sound effects, and voice-over become very grating very quickly.

I commend the game for trying something totally new in the realm of puzzle games. In a sea of match-three and click-and-find puzzle games, Trenga Unlimited does something I have never seen before. And it’s not that it fails, by any means. On the contrary, the puzzle concept itself is excellent. It’s just an unpolished and unbalanced game. I can’t keep incentivized to play it because the story mode has no incentives, and the survival mode is far too difficult. A game using this same concept but with some polish and apt difficulty curve could be great, though.

Trenga Unlimited is available May 28th on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Trenga Unlimited
  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

I commend the game for trying something totally new in the realm of puzzle games. In a sea of match-three and click-and-find puzzle games, Trenga Unlimited does something I have never seen before. And it’s not that it fails, by any means. On the contrary, the puzzle concept itself is excellent. It’s just an unpolished and unbalanced game. I can’t keep incentivized to play it because the story mode has no incentives, and the survival mode is far too difficult. A game using this same concept but with some polish and apt difficulty curve could be great.