The full release notes are here: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Tidalis_-_0.412_Beta_Release
This is yet another notable update with a ton of little things scattered through it. This release has 6 new items, 3 new special blocks, a new art/music theme, a new game mode, a number of visual improvements to the GUI and title screen, and a couple of bugfixes.
The new Item Survival game mode is particularly interesting, as it's really different from the rest of the game since it largely cuts out the core feature of the game: the streams themselves. That makes this a pretty sideways mode in general, where you have to keep the block counts low simply by playing lots of items -- but some of the items you wind up having to play actually will hinder you rather than helping you, so there is some definite strategy to it. I tend to find that I think it's getting to easy, and then bam -- suddenly I've lost. Of course, I've been playing that mode on action difficulty 3 in the first place.
Three of the items in this release introduce a completely new item mechanic: setting a global item modifier on a well for a period of time. In this case, either freezing the entire board (so you have time to think), blocking incoming blocks, or speeding up the rate of incoming blocks. The first two of these are particularly handy for co-op play, so that you can help your teammate, and the third is obviously more combative.
The new Color Blocker block is somewhat
interesting for the action modes, but pretty easy to clear there. That's one that really shines for creating devious puzzles, but we left it available in action modes because it does add a small bit there, too. The emission statue and pit monster are very much more for the action modes, although certainly a certain style of puzzle could make use of them, too.
The new Foothills music/art theme makes the 18th theme for the game. We've got two more planned, to make for a total of 20 in all, and then that will probably finish up what we do for music/art themes. There's still a lot of other minor art and sound effect work, and polish for all of the above, that we need to focus on after the baseline versions of all the themes are done. Some of the existing themes we'll be going back to and adding more animations for, cleaning up a few small things, etc -- you may have noticed some of that already in the last few weeks.
All in all, this 0.412 version is really propelling the game towards the finish line in terms of themes, items, special blocks, and so forth. We have more items and special blocks planned, but there are definitely more already implemented than there are left to implement, now, which is a good feeling for us! Network play is going to be a focus soon, as well as more special blocks, items, and game modes.