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Rating: 4.6/5 (29 votes)
Comments (28) | Views (9,450)

TontieTontie deserves its own entry—and this way I can also add it to the "Recommended" section in the side bar. Posted a while back with the magnificient Grow game by Eyezmaze, Tontie is simply one of the most accessible, fun-to-play and challenging Flash games I've seen. Anyone with a numeric keypad can play: Just follow the on-screen instructions for each level by pressing the corresponding keys when directed. Each level adds more complexity and variety, so be alert as you play. Wonderful. Simple. Cute.

Play Tontie

Update: A new version of Tontie has been released.


Nils von Barth August 21, 2004 11:33 PM

My analysis of the game: it's quite fun and elegant, but has some serious flaws or problems. It's a great game, but could be even better.

Essentially it's a "wack-a-mole" game, with a good interface (the keypad) and important embellishments: 1: some objects are unsafe to hit, so you can't wack everything in sight; 2: some objects switch between safe/unsafe; 3: most importantly, the eyes, which require you to switch modes (push their number, not position). These embellishments turn a simple reflex game into a much deeper "think fast" one. Also, the changing hammer (at first you need 2 hits to kill red guys, but with a better hammer only need 1; also the speed changes) makes learning reflexes harder.

One of the slickest aspects is the switching between safe/unsafe: as the game speeds up, it hits a sweetspot where by the time you recognize the opponent and click on it, it switches states in the time it takes the nerve impulse to go from brain to finger!

Turning to problems: the most serious problem is how the speed/difficulty ramps up. The first 6 or 7 boards are slow, easy, and boring. Starting at board 8 or so, it gets fast enough to be fun, but becomes very difficult by board 10 or 11, and the higher boards are very difficult indeed, becoming essentially impossible (certainly by 16). Thus you play through the tedious beginning boards for ~10 minutes, then get 2-4 minutes of play at the fun boards; note how addictive this can be. It would be a much better game if the speed were handled differently -- perhaps starting faster but ramping up more slowly.

More generally, it also has the common design of each board being faster, harder, and more enemies at a time -- all at once! So the difficulty ramps up even faster.

What's happening mechanically is (basically) this: there's 17 frames/second, and an action every X frames, where X starts at 17 and goes down by 1 each board. Concretely, this means the speed increases like 1/x (formally, 1/(17-x)), so it starts off slow and gains speed slowly, but then increases at an increasing rate! In other words, level 11 is harder than level 10 by much more than level 3 is harder than level 2! Each level beyond 10 or so is a quantum leap in difficulty: if you just barely stay above water on one board, you'll die instantly on the next.

I think it's designed like this b/c it's a very elegant mechanism: it hits all the speeds that fit naturally. Unfortunately, it's the worst possible difficulty ramp: tedious, brief flash of reasonable challenge, then very difficult by quantum leaps. This is the most serious problem with Tontie.

I'll discuss progressive difficulty in more detail in Ludics 1 (my book-in-progress) -- indeed, I'm writing that section right now, partly in reaction to Tontie.

Incidentally, I figured this out b/c I like this game enough, but was frustrated enough, that I hacked it up so I start on level 8 (with a nice hammer). No, I won't distribute my hacked up one, out of respect for the author, but you can do it yourself using flasm: the variable is "lv", and there's an obvious initialization function. Speed is "fps", and you'll need to change that too. Actually, it's kinda fun to play level 1 on super-high speed.

Beyond that, the "shop appearance" random algorithm is really messed up: it often won't appear for several levels (annoying when you finally want to buy something!) and then might appear several times on one board. This is a minor annoyance, and understandable for a beta game.

More deeply, this last isn't so much a flaw as a divisive feature: if you mess up a little, you often die instantly -- and it's hard to recover from a mistake. This is partly just b/c it breaks your rhythm/concentration, but is also because of the punishing damage and the slow healing. This makes it a harder and more challenging game, which some may like, but I find it a bit tough.

So it's a great game, and if the speed were tweaked, this would be a classic (there's already a cell phone version; haven't checked it out).


Nils is right on about the game. I can't believe he actually made it to the 16th level. The difficulty curve is fairly linear up until about the 8th level, but then shoots off exponentially from there.

Excellent analysis of the game.


i think that tontie is awsome and you also have to go check out battle ship well yeah !!!!!


Yeah, i really like tontie too and i also agree with nils' story.

Funny thing i found out though, dont know if you guys knew this already, but there' a relatively easy way to kill the 'eye-characters'. Before they have opened up their eyes they can be killed by three hits of the first hammer, this way you dont have to wait and see what number he'll show. Just a tip.

Rijco, the netherlands.

vortex surfer October 17, 2004 4:05 PM

Eyezmaze came recently with Tontie v.1.0. It's on their website and offers more different enemies, treasure chests, codes for starting on a higher level, and it sure ain't easier than the first one! (I just CAN'T get past level 20 in this one...)


yeah i just can't get past level 20 also. i've got the gold hammer with wings and it ain't still enough. the most i can damage this boss is barely half life before i die. any tips???


Wow level 20?! I can't get past the first boss. I guess I'm off to practice more. Oh by the way, check out my site I'm working on for Tontie. Its very empty at the moment, but thats only because I worked on it for about 10 minutes. I'm going to add a forum very soon. Being the only Tontie site, I'm sure we could get a lot of people in those forums.


I have beaten it a couple times now. My highest score is 33k. You get a new cheat if you can beat level 20, but it aint easy. The super life and ray gun can help a lot. The big block guys from level 17 or 18 hurt a lot if you don't hit them so make sure you do. Always get the bomb that turn everything into the bomb guys (it around level 13). They always drop 3 coins and the more coins you got the better. I had 999 going into level 20 the last time I beat it and used almost all of them (bought gold hammer twice, and 6 hearts). I do have some screen shots after you beat it, if you want to see it just email me. Good Luck!!


I got to Level 18 with a score of 215,810

:) I can't beat level 20 on the new version (Tontie_v1)


Ok... So I'm addicted to this game! But What the hell is with the rock guys.. is there any way to kill them besides changing them when the bomb comes up? They're killin me, literally! I can only get to 19 cause them guys take all my life! Any suggestions?

Danielle March 22, 2005 4:33 PM

The big rock guys...you have to hit them seven times before they die. It seems easier to just hit the bomb and turn everything on the screen into the bomb guys. I can't get past 20. That boss man kills me everytime. I get absolutely NOWHERE. I've been trying for weeks. Any suggestions?


Anyone have a personal site with Tontie v 1.0, work comp is restricting any site with a link to it so far.


Hey, i just beat lvl 20 as well, it tok me like four tries but i finally did it.

tontie ?newb? April 7, 2005 10:31 AM

i cant figure out what the wings do, email me with an answer please

mattygroves April 11, 2005 11:10 AM

The wings allow you to hit faster.

Top tip for completion - play on a dial up connection with other stuff running in the background - this slows the game up considerably :)


Lindien July 19, 2005 1:40 PM

I beat lvl 20 without any continue xD...
34567 points :D
on the elder version i loose on lvl17.. :( .. 122458points ..
welle it's great..
i love tontie!


This is game is great! I got up to Lvl 8 I think before I died. But, that was my first try though. I will try again, and I hope I can beat it soon. It's harder than I thought it would be!


Can't play on laptop. I do have an option to turn my 789uiojkl keys into a numerical pad, but they are all skewed so it's super hard. Can't beat level one. Harrumph. Sometimes I wish I had a desktop computer.


buy a stone tile and use this code to go to level 11 with a siver hammer. 965813472


I am at level 20 with the devil tontie, with the blinking numbers, and also changing bombs red & purple. im struggling so hard!!!


i know this page is not that active , but i would appreciate any help i can get, new to this game , and another furom i'm own has weelky game challanges , an have got to win this game . i have read about the codes , but when i log em in i see to always start at the begining with 0 nothing , hammers wings etc etc. what is the trick there? how is this done what am i missing? TY in advance


code for silver Tonties



I have beaten the first boss, but I can't seem to get past level 13, any tips?? I've noticed that after the first level, and you do not go into the hut to buy something, you get a chest that is filled with something bad or helpful. Did anyone else get the chest??


Biggest problem with the game are the eyes with the numbers on them. They make is nearly impossible to beat the final boss. When the eyes have a number and there is also something on that number, you have no idea which one you hit. So even though you press the right number, you hit a different spot... that is the only thing that really bugs me.

Pandragon January 30, 2010 2:42 PM

haha.. this game is quite hard to play with a laptop! great game design though.
does anyone know how to use the "fn" key for a laptop numberpad? it would be nice if i could use those.. heh


what is the plus sign you buy in the store for?


I don't have a keypad so must use the embedded one on my notebook. Select FN with F11 to convert it.


I'm new to this game, and find it is great for keeping the cobwebs out. I have neuropathy so not sure how far into the game I can advance as my fingers spasm and wipe out a few lives. I use a notebook embedded keypad. Access this on a Toshiba by hitting FN F11 at the same time. Once you're into it, it's just like accounting number pad. If you have trouble keeping centered, put a sticky dot or such on the "5" (i) to help.


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