App Army Assemble: TaniNani - does this cute puzzler offer a satisfying challenge?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: TaniNani - does this cute puzzler offer a satisfying challenge?
| TaniNani

TaniNani is a puzzle game all about reuniting the two titular characters Tani and Nani. You do this by swapping around the six tiles that make up each level to guide them back together. It looks interesting, so we asked our App Army to give us their thoughts on how it compares to other puzzle games.

Here's what they had to say:

Jim Linford

I really like this game from its graphical style 8/16 bit retro. Ok yeah, the music can be a bit jarring - more the sound it’s makes not the tune - but yeah this is a fun game. You have six parts of a level which you can switch around by tapping and dragging. Within each level, you have a gem plus two characters. The idea is to get the gem and reunite the characters together. Certain levels have conditions to meet. Simple enough or so it seems. It’s addictive and I'd recommend it.

Mike Lisagor

I’m really enjoying this game so far. At first, I thought you just have to rearrange the 6 tiles around but there is more depth than that, especially if you want to grab the crystal and the achievement in each level. Graphics are the popular retro graphics and it controls great on a touch screen. Easy to recommend if you like fresh puzzlers.

Mark Abukoff

This is a clever puzzler in a simple retro style. Like many others, you slide things around (tiles in this case) to complete the puzzle. Here you are trying to bring two characters together and have them recover the gem. As with most, it starts simple and though it doesn’t have a tutorial it’s pretty easy to figure out from those first simple stages. Controls are easy to figure out and work well enough on the touch screen.

I didn’t care for the music and sound so I turned it off. Aside from that, there’s nothing about this game that I didn’t like, but to be honest, aside from the clever idea of getting the figures to go where you want, there’s not much about this game that makes me want to keep going. It just didn’t seem to bring much new to the table. However, if you like this sort of game you should be pretty happy with TaniNani.

Jc Ga

Like many successful puzzle games, the idea is very simple and it is all the better for it (2 characters walking straight in front of themselves, having to find each other, recovering a crystal on the way and move the pieces of their world so that they get there). No tutorial needed, but an increasing difficulty.

And this increasing difficulty is very addictive: what new difficulty does the next level hold for me? Am I going to have to change my way of conceiving the possible interactions between these world pieces? Will I achieve the goals and be proud of myself? Graphically the game is simple and pretty, the gameplay is effective, the levels are neither easy nor sadistic ... so I recommend TaniNani completely, and go back to start the next level!

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Nicholas Defelice

A fun puzzle game, with simplistic controls. Graphics are retro which is okay. Levels start out easy and gradually increase in difficulty. One thing I wish, while the controls are easy, is if there was a brief, short tutorial to show you how/where to tap/swipe to use them. Otherwise, great game.

Paul Manchester

A simple pixel puzzler. A bit like the other thousand simple pixel puzzlers on the App Store. Harmless but in no way unique enough to set itself apart from the crowd. The graphics just about do the job and the music sounds like a child's first keyboard recital. I’ll pass on this one.

Dries Pretorius

TaniNani reminds me of Lock’s Quest in its aesthetic, with the live shuffle jive of Framed, and the lemming steering world manipulation of Splitter Critters. You have a 2x3 square grid, each square containing the platforms captured in its 5x5 gridded dimensions, tap the puzzle once and the action freezes and the grids float apart to be reshuffled and manipulated. You can swap any one of the six boxes with any other, tap it again and the level reassembles and the two pink lemmings resume their mindless hustle.

Your aim is to direct them to walk and fall into the gem on the level before meeting each other, while satisfying the bonus level conditions, like move or time limits. It is a fun game, the difficulty scaling is fair, and some puzzle solutions really feel great to pull off, like when you shuffle the frames to catch a pink lemming that has walked off his platform, only to find a solution that actually needs a lemming to fall in that way. It doesn’t feel as deep as Splitter Critters with its living world manipulation. But there is a lot of thought gone into the puzzle design. For what you are paying, if you enjoyed any of the games I mentioned to contextualize TaniNani, you’ll find value and something to enjoy here.

Robert Maines

TaniNani was a pleasant surprise. It’s a very simple looking game as you rearrange the scenery in blocks to get the two characters to pick up the crystal and meet-up. It may look simple but the difficulty soon ramps up and the game becomes a real challenge. Don’t let the simple graphics put you off, this one gets a thumbs up from me.

Roman Valerio

To put it in a nutshell, I could not bear more than 10 minutes with this game. The App Store tagline touts "a unique puzzle experience", but this is very far from it, to say the least. Firstly, the game looks ugly on a 9.7-inch iPad screen and by that, I do not imply its pixelated graphics. There is too much free space around the puzzle tiles, which appear too small for me and the font describing tasks to be completed is also too tiny.

The games involving tile-switching are a dime a dozen on the App Store nowadays, so in order to stand out one should come up with some truly original concept, which is absolutely lacking here. I've played a zillion of puzzlers on my iPad, which is my most beloved genre of all, thus I genuinely hope to see much better-executed titles in 2020.

Ed Davis

A simple, retro-style puzzler. It was fun for a time but felt very similar to a lot of other puzzles out there. Not a bad thing if these are the type of puzzles you like but probably best look elsewhere if you want something different. The main attraction is the simple art style and soundtrack that goes along with it.

Bruno Ramalho

Two mindless Lemmings creatures that walk non stop, and we need to get them together. That is the power of love after all. But first, get the gem, and then reunite them. A couple needs some nice treasure if they are starting a life together right? To do that, getting the gem and the two creatures together, our playing area freezes and gets divided into smaller frames that we can rearrange. That is a nice challenge in and of itself, but then we have extra objectives that we need to tend to, like do it in fewer moves, or don't let the creatures fall for too long, etc.

Trying to clear the main objectives and the extra objectives is a nice touch and make us scratch our heads while repeating a level to get them all. The concept is not new and reminds me of Splitter Critters, but this exact gameplay mechanic I think was never done before. It's very well done, and we need to think outside the box to complete some of the challenges. A must for "realtime" puzzle fans, definitely.

Oksana Ryan

This was a simple enough puzzle game - swap the platforms to capture a heart and unite the two lovers. Although there was really nothing in the game that could be called unique, it was easy to play, had easy to use controls and the graphics, though retro looking, were bright and cheerful.

As I progressed there were changes to the visuals, new items to find and more blocks to move, which gave added interest. I played the game in small sessions and found it entertaining enough, though after a while I did feel it got a bit repetitive. If you enjoy your puzzles in short bursts, then this isn’t a bad choice.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.