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Tiles of the Unexpected!

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Rating: 4.7/5 (26 votes)
Comments (36) | Views (10,467)
ArtbegottiTiles of the UnexpectedOne of the problems with being a music major is that your listening repertoire becomes somewhat restricted to the realm of the "art song." Last week, I was quizzed on the differences between Dunstable's "Quam pulchra es" and Du Fay's "Nuper rosarum flores." Good fun. Of course, that doesn't mean that I can no longer recognize such names as the Gorillaz.

From the Gorillaz' website comes Tiles of the Unexpected!, a game which puts a new spin on a familiar genre. Like a cross between SameGame and Mahjong, the challenge is to clear all of the tiles from the board. Click on any set of two or more adjacent, identical tiles to clear them.

Ready for the catch? There are two layers that you are playing with. Removing tiles from the top layer reveals the tiles in the bottom layer. Removing tiles from the bottom layer creates a space into which the tiles above will fall. If a tile that falls into a gap forms a new pairing, they will automatically disappear, starting up the combo mechanism in this game.

Combos in this game give you a double-whammy of goodness. In addition to bonus points, creating a combo gives you a bomb piece. If you ever run out of matches on the board, bombs let you remove a single tile from the game. Use your bombs strategically, so that you can create new matches and hopefully, more combos!

With three levels to tackle, this game brings an addicting twist of strategy and luck to the run-of-the-mill tile-clearing challenge. If you're like me and need a break from studying Lieder, give Tiles of the Unexpected! a shot.

Play Tiles of the Unexpected

Thanks to Ian for the recommendation.


Game does not load for me. All I see is the preloader screen with the flashing monkeys.


That was my bad with the URL. Sorry. It should be fixed now. Thanks for the alert. :)


Yikes! This could easily take precedence over my term paper! Keep it away!

I kept getting down to three unmatched tiles and two bombs. Grrrr.

Fun though.


...I adore the gameplay mechanics of both Mahjong and Same Game. So much for my grades this semester.

Also, what on earth are the criterion for combos? Sometimes new and "new" pairings disappear, sometimes no. I thought it might be that they could never have been aligned previously, but that does not appear to be the case. Does anyone know?


I noticed that, too, and wondered the same thing myself.

Here is my guess: when there is more than one additional pairing created, you're given the opportunity to choose, since order of removal matters in this game.


That would make sense, but it definitely still makes combos sometimes when there are multiple- sometimes it combos one match but not another, other times all matches.


the way that i figured it was that for the combo to work, the new match has to occur within the space where the hole was created. there might be more matches above, but only the ones in the newly created gaps count. for example, in the snapshot above (which came out terribly grainy, my fault entirely), if a combo would be made where the red bullseyes are, they would immediately disappear.

remind me to send you a new snap, jay.


Ooh, that would make sense. Although that makes it terribly difficult to intentionally rack up combos- usually lots of them happen to me when I pick a random set.


Ooooo, another good zen game!


I spoke too soon.
Can anyone beat level 3? Yeesh.


Awesome! I'm a n00b and stuck on level one. R.I.P. Noodle (or at least we think...)

John Lisle November 5, 2007 1:58 PM

I don't expect you to post this; but I do expect you to forward it to "artbegotti".

Of course, triple kudos points for posting it anyway.

I have a significant problem with folk on the net who are more interested in saying "look at ME" than doing their job.

In this instance, I have no interest in Art's musical qualifications or the pretentions that led to his submitting the first paragraph of his review.

*That* paragraph wa salmost enough to make me give up JIG. Please don't do it again.

By the way, I have used a REAL name and a REAL e-mail, and I'm completely open to any avenue of justification, flaming etc. A straw-poll of other users suggests that I am far from alone in this response, and, Jay, you need to know!

Kind regards



John, don't you think your criticism might be a little too harsh on Art?

After all, his intro is one way to segue into the topic of a game from the website of a popular band, decidedly different from the music he's been studying at college (at present).

And for the record, writing reviews for JIG is not Art's "job". He doesn't get paid at all for his contributions, though his contributions are appreciated very much.


John, if you don't like it, how hard is it to skip over the first paragraph? It wasn't irrelevant to the game, and it's part of what makes JIG so different.

Addicting game, by the way! I LOVE SameGame and never found an interest in Mahjong, but I might be trying it due to the fun from this one!

Dan Garrett November 5, 2007 3:11 PM

John, I think we all are entitled to say, "Look at me!" every once in a while. If Art were to regularly include a paragraph that drew attention to himself, I could understand your complaint, but it's just been this one time and it's a pretty good segue, so I don't think you need to be quite so up in arms about it.


For the record, one reason I visit JayIsGames instead of the countless other game portals is that the reviewers are intelligent, three-dimensional people, rather than cloistered video-heads.

Kellyhalia November 5, 2007 4:43 PM

I am about to stop playing partway through the first level because the tiles are so hard on my eyes. I wish they were just different, solid colors instead of the colors but also confusing (to me) pictures. It just makes things too cluttered for me.


Hey, who are you calling intelligent?!?!


But as for the game itself, it's definitely worth a few plays through. However, if there's a winning strategy, I'm just not seeing it. I can make it to level 2, but haven't come within more than 7 or 8 bombs of passing it.

I keep expecting tiles high above the ones I remove to make combos too, but they don't (as has been discussed already). I also feel the strategy could be improved by letting the player use bombs even if there are groups left. And is it just me, or do combo chains offer no extra bomb bonus over single combos?


i beat level 3, only took me 3 hours


I beat level 3 - it took me about 3 hours aswell. my advice is: eliminate the vertically adjoined tiles first, starting with the ones nearest the bottom.

Boston Gamer November 5, 2007 7:45 PM

I found this game a few months ago and almost submitted it to JayisGames, but then I decided that there wouldn't be enough interest. Guess I was wrong! Anyway, I had a minor obsession with this game for awhile, and am glad to see Tiles featured here.

There's a LOT of luck involved - I only beat Level 3 about 10% of the time that I played. My best strategies involved getting rid of the top layer as much as possible, and then thinking hard about combos once the bottom layer was relatively exposed.


Great little game.

Great intro to the review. I find it interesting to learn a little about the backgrounds of Jay and his team - it goes to show they're not computer-generated nerds locked in a dark, damp cellar playing computer games 24/7 ;)

Back to the game......playing on and off since this was posted, I have finally managed to beat level 3! Oddly, I wasn't really concentrating and thought I was only on level 2. Maybe the unthinking approach works best!

Monty Zoomer November 6, 2007 9:49 AM

I beat level 1, failed first time on level 2 and it took me back to level 1. Is this right? How the devil is a chap supposed to further himself with such goings on?

Monty Zoomer November 6, 2007 10:52 AM

Doh! I guess that's the game huh?

attackwithdecay November 6, 2007 6:23 PM

I just beat the game last night. There is some luck involved, but workable strategy comes out the more you play. When I started, I could barely beat stage 1, but now I can consistently finish stage 2 and make a good run on 3. My advice is somewhat obvious, but:

Bombs are more important that everything else. Stockpile them up, because there is an inevitable point in every level where you switch to bomb mode. How to get more? Well, do whatever it takes to make combos. It is better to get a combo than to clear a couple of tiles off the top row.

I keep my eye out for horizontally matched tiles near the top of the screen and clear those first, because if I clear something beneath them, they might fall out of position. Similarly, I save vertically matched tiles, because it is impossible to have them fall out of position.
When using bombs, try to go for moves that generate enough combos to replace the bomb you just used. A good trick to remember is that you get half a bomb for clearing a column entirely, and the two "split" rows will slam together, triggering any matches that happen all the way up the split. You can get the bonus for the slam, plus the combo bonus.
I have a few other tricks, but I'm not sure how to articulate them, so I'll leave them out.

John lisle November 7, 2007 11:55 AM

Hi Jay

I just re-read my comments - and you're right, it was over-harsh.

So. I was out of order and triple kudos points are in order - and I apologise.

I do realise that it's not his (nor anybody's) "job"....and I do enjoy the site and the "real people" aspect of the reviews. I guess it's a sign of the high standard we've all come to expect that this grated so badly.




Irritating beyond measure, once you realise the whole "matching" segment is just foreplay for the bombs. The hidden underlayer undermines any strategy and half the time the combos don't work


Ah! I haven't looked at the name yet - but artbegotti, you're studying Dunstable? And DuFay? And lieder?? That's awesome! I'm listening to Josquin right now, and getting ready to write a mammoth paper on Holst - so I hear where you're coming from!

Thanks for all your work!


tis game is pretty addicting, i like the twist they did in the original majong game and the maching tile game.

PS: the gorillaz rock!!!


Love this game!
The only catch: I like to listen to my own music (at least sometimes) and therefore prefer games that provide a "music off"-switch.
Bruckners "Te deum" doesn't sound so great with multiple bangs and crashes in between... (have to rehearse the te deum for choir)


oh, and for the combo-matching:

Combos count if one of the combo-tiles falls into an open space.
If a whole combo falls down without contacting a matching tile, it will react when one of its combo-tiles was uncovered during the chain reaction.


Sorry, I have to correct:

If a combo falls down without touching a matching tile, it will react if it was combined during the preceding chain reaction. "Recombination", e.g. if a tile slides down at the side of a two-combo, counts also.

Monty Zoomer November 13, 2007 5:56 AM

Yep! Finally did it!!! Only took me a week or so.


Sheesh, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I've been playing this on and off for DAYS and finally beat level three--used up all but one of my bombs! Am I crazy to feel relieved?! haha

Great game--thanks for a fun and frustrating end to my Christmas break!


The Gorillaz have a new web site and so far, no games. This may be gone for good. Found it here: http://www.gamesloon.com/free-board-23/mahjong-games-45/tiles-of-the-unexpected-35290.html


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