Piano Tiles 2 Review: Melodious

The Soothing Sounds of Sequels

Piano Tiles 2 (Don't Tap the White Tile 2)
Cheetah Technology Corporation Limited

"Phenomenon" isn't a word to be thrown around lightly, but in the short life of the App Store, there have been a surprising number of games that have warranted its use. Flappy Bird, Doodle Jump, Candy Crush Saga -- the list of megahits on mobile grows with every passing month. And in early 2014, Piano Tiles was one such phenomenon.

Endlessly cloned and copied, Piano Tiles succeeded for the same reason any great mobile game does: it was instantly understandable and intensely challenging. The object of the game was simple: tap only the black tiles as they scrolled in front of you, and as you did, you'd play a simple tune on the piano. Maybe you couldn't dance to it, but it sure beat humming.

Piano Tiles 2 is both exactly what you're expecting and exactly what you're hoping for: more of the same, but with the sort of polish and depth that developer Cheetah Technology failed to deliver in the original release.

Why It's Better

At its core, this is still a game about avoiding the white tiles and only tapping the black ones. The only real change to the gameplay experience is that there are new tiles that are long and require you to press your finger down and hold to the end. It feels natural and intuitive, like everything else about Piano Tiles, and is a welcome addition in Piano Tiles 2.

Beyond that, though, the game plays exactly the same as the original Piano Tiles -- but it feels so much better. This largely has to do with the music. Rather than playing single keys, there's a fullness of the music you'll be creating in Piano Tiles 2. It's the difference between listening to a five-year-old try to self-learn piano and attending a private concert by Glenn Gould.

The game has been given a strong visual makeover, too. Gone are the days of grid-based gameplay and dull menus. The experience is still largely minimal, mind you -- but the design choices this time have bumped the look of the game from amateur to professional.

Why You Might Disagree

There have been some compromises to the original game's design which, depending on your view, could be taken as a negative. Gone are the multiple (though ultimately unnecessary) modes of the original Piano Tiles. Piano Tiles 2 offers only one style of play, though it's something of a mode mashup: you'll be tasked with completing a song, and once it's done you'll switch to "endless" to continue playing as the tempo speeds up, setting as high a score as you can before fumbling.

Piano Tiles 2 also embraces many of the trappings of the free-to-play games market that the original lacked. You'll have multiple currencies to deal with, the ability to unlock new songs by leveling up, and the opportunity to watch video ads to earn Diamonds without spending real-world money. 

The game also goes pretty heavy on wanting you to socialize. It's never a requirement, thankfully, but you're frequently given reasons to let other people know about the game. Connecting your Facebook account? That earns you premium currency. Having five friends on the leaderboards? That will get you Diamonds, too.

Play It

I honestly didn't get the appeal of Piano Tiles at first. My kids adored it, but I felt it was too plain; too rote. It wasn't until I played Bay Tek Games' copycat in an arcade (no, really) that I was bitten by the bug. Now, with Piano Tiles 2, I can find the same sort of polish and high presentation while supporting the original creators. It's a good feeling.

There are a lot of impostors out there. Ignore them. Piano Tiles 2 is the definitive version of Piano Tiles. Just remember: don't tap the white tile!