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Tick Tock – smart two-player mystery puzzle game

Price: $3/£3
Version: 1.1.3
Size: 834 MB
Developer: Other Tales Interactive
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Tick Tock

Puzzle games like The Room are great on mobile, allowing players to immerse themselves in a detailed world of mysteries. But as solo experiences, they lack the social intimacy of real-world escape rooms. Tick Tock: A Tale For Two is an attempt to prove that the two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive.

Each player sees a variation on the same scene

This is a unique two-player take on the genre, in which you and a friend work through a series of puzzles together in an attempt to solve a wider mystery. You’ll each be playing on your own device, connected with your teammate only by your own voices. Each player will need to describe their own unique set of clues, as nearly everything works in tandem and teamwork is essential.

Tick Tock is a highly polished experience with a beautiful Scandinavian art style and effective, atmospheric sound design. It’s set in early twentieth-century Europe, with themes that touch on time travel and our fleeting existence settling amidst a gorgeous array of ominous birds and clockwork contraptions. There are some dark undertones here, but it remains suitable for all ages – and there’s just enough backstory to be compelling without distracting too much from the core gameplay.

These radio messages only make sense when paired with your partner’s findings

The game is available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and even Nintendo Switch, and you’re free to play alongside someone using a different device. That’s because there are no digital connections to be made here, with all communication done the old-fashioned way: using your vocal cords. Tick Tock is best experienced sat across the table from your partner, debating solutions with a pencil and notepad in hand, but the app cleverly allows phone calls to continue in the background so you can even play remotely with a long-distance friend.

Cooperation isn’t just useful, it’s the entire point of the game

Tick Tock’s puzzles are relatively straightforward, lacking the tactile intricacy of The Room and the inventive whimsy of the Rusty Lake series. That’s not to say they’re bad, though – each puzzle here is gorgeously presented and even the simpler brainteasers are somehow more satisfying to work through as a team. Crucially, every solution makes sense within the game’s world and there are no crazy leaps of logic or trial-and-error required. That’s a huge plus in a game like this.

There’s no denying that Tick Tock is on the short side, lasting around 1-2 hours depending on your lateral thinking and communication skills. And of course, this two-player gimmick cleverly ensures you’ll need to buy two copies of the game, and there’s no replay value once you’ve figured the clues out once.

Those are issues that come with the territory, though, and in truth, the game’s length makes it reasonable to work through to the ending in a single session. It’s a great way to spend some time with a puzzle-loving pal.

You’ll visit this clock shop more than once throughout the adventure…

We’ve not seen anything like this on the App Store before, but we hope there’s more to come from this developer. The forced cooperation feels like more than just a gimmick – it’s a whole new way to experience mystery games. Fans of the genre won’t want to miss out.