Some of the best games are ones that simulate a real-life puzzle, such as a Rubik's Cube, or physics games like Crazy Machines. One of my favorite physical puzzles has always been the wooden labyrinth. You remember, the game where you turn knobs to roll the little steel ball to the exit, without hitting any holes along the way? Even though the solution was the same each time, I would play Labyrinth for hours on end, trying to make it to the exit faster and faster.
Tilt is an example of the wooden labyrinth in digital form, and an excellent one it is, too. Using the mouse, you tilt the board up, down, left, and right to direct the ball to the exit. Of course, one of the advantages of a digital version is the fact that the maze configuration does not have to stay static, and it certainly doesn't here. There are 66 different levels, many of them devilishly hard.
The game starts off simple. Just make your way around the walls and get the ball to the exit. But soon, extra elements are introduced. Now you are trying to get two different balls to two exits simultaneously. Okay, not so hard once you get the hang of it. But then it becomes three balls to three exits. Then four. Then the balls are different sizes, and must be directed into specific areas. The levels eventually become less like Labyrinth and more like those small plastic cube puzzles where you have to get all the metal balls in the holes at the same time. Throw in other obstacles, such as pads that slow balls down or attract them like a black hole, and things can become an exercise in frustration. And that's only half-way through!
Analysis: Truth be told, I was expecting fewer multi-ball puzzles and more variations on the original wooden labyrinth, but Tilt's variety does keep it interesting. Later in the game, the mix of classic mazes with more puzzle-like levels becomes much better. The special pads make many levels less about careful maneuvering and more about coming up with a strategy to get the ball to the next "safe" section. Your only competition is the time it takes to complete each level. You have an unlimited number of "lives", and can reset a level at any time, should you get stuck.
Tilt can be played either in the browser window or full-screen. To get the full experience, and to increase your accuracy, I would suggest playing full-screen whenever possible. The gameplay seems to smooth out, making the board much easier to control, and allowing you to make minute changes in the tilt.
The one real gripe I have is the way that the game saves progress. You can continue where you left off after a fashion, not having to play through all 66 levels in one sitting. But in order to continue, you have to play through the level previous to the one you are currently playing. You know, the one that took you 2 hours to finally beat? If I've already beaten a level, I don't quite understand the purpose of making me finish another level in order to not have to replay the first one. [NOTE: Since this review was written, this feature has changed. It is now possible to continue from the last level played.]
That issue aside, Tilt is one of the finest implementations of Labyrinth that I have ever seen in Flash. The controls are easy to understand, and 66 levels will give you literally hours of gameplay. So jump into the labyrinths of Tilt and see if you can come out a winner!