Written by Twisted Ideas
I’ve been pretty quite on the blog with updates. I’ve been busy and with the Easter holiday just past I haven’t been able to write all that much lately. I have been playing a lot though. It’s been a long while since I’ve done a review round up but lets take a quick look at Box Boy, Never Alone, Woah Dave and Pokemon Shuffle.
BoxBoy! is a puzzle platformer game for the 3DS. You play as Box Boy who has the ability to produce boxes from his body to place, climb and pull himself across levels. The game is divided into several worlds each with a myriad of individual levels pushing your brain to solve. Each level has a least one crown to collect but if you make too many boxes the crown will be unobtainable. Collecting all the crowns in the level will give you currency where you can buy costumes, challenge levels, music and hints.
Block based puzzle games are nothing new but BoxBoy! has really unique and innovative ideas. All boxes are start from Box Boy and using that mechanic you are able to move him along the levels in ways we haven’t really seen before. The geometry of the game is tight and precise so while you can occasionally cut down a box you can never break a puzzle without the intended solution. The only problem with the game is that until the end of the game, the bonus and challenge levels, each world tends to focus on a single mechanic instead of building on top of anything beyond the very basic ones.
BoxBoy! is a cheap downloadable game with a ton puzzle solving fun. Every time you think it’s done another world pops up. Puzzle game veterans will definitely rack their brains over some of the puzzle in BoxBoy!. It requires a flexible mind in the later levels but each puzzle is small in scope so you aren’t overwhelmed. If your the type of person who struggles at problem solving then you might be playing BoxBoy! a little bit longer than I was.
Currently free for PlayStation Plus users for April, Never Alone is a tale about a young Inuit girl, Nuna and her pet snow fox. This is 2D puzzle platformer that takes and realizes Inuit legends in the story of these two companions.
Nuna is your typical platforming character with basic jumps and can interact with the environment. She has a bola that she can throw at the environment to create new paths and has terrible throwing controls. The fox is more agile and has the ability to manipulate spirits that both he and Nuna and use as platforms to progress.
Never Alone is a very short game and with its unlockable educational videos and Inuit tribes you would be surprised to not see The History Channel’s name plastered anywhere. The atmosphere is great and aims for an emotional story. The problem with the story is that the climax feels very petty and the way it wraps up isn’t all that satisfying. Never Alone isn’t a great platformer or puzzle game. Puzzles are typically very simple and the times when platforming requires the fox to manipulate spirits is clunky. The game is beautiful and PlayStation Plus users should give it a shot. I wouldn’t recommend buying Never Along at its asking price however.
Woah Dave is a frantic arcade style game for iOS devices, Steam, 3DS and the PlayStation 4 and Vita. You play as Dave or on of his friends surviving as long as you can to collect coins from all the monsters you kill. Eggs fall from the sky and eventually hatch into monsters. These monsters wander the stages and if they fall into the lava they grow into something faster and more dangerous. The only way to stop them is to throw eggs at hatched monsters or throw skulls at them or the eggs. The stronger the monster the more coins they drop and the more coins collected throughout the game adds new and crazier enemies.
Whoa Dave is also currently free for PlayStation Plus users but is also a very cheap game to buy. This is a great game for handhelds because of it’s fast paced nature makes it easy to play on the go. Woah Dave makes you want to push your high score as high as you can and see what it has to throw at you next. The only problem with the game is that there isn’t much content other than a few stages and a higher difficulty. It would have been nice if your money went towards some rewards.
Pokemon Shuffle is Nintendo’s first Free-to-Play game and is a Pokemon themed version of Puzzles and Dragons (and is more fun than the mobile version). It’s another Match 3 game but instead only moving adjacent icons you can take an icon and move it anywhere on the board. The main stages are turned based, EX stages which unlock after getting several S ranks are timed and special stages are timed events.
The game’s introduction is satisfyingly lengthy but not too long as to put you off. Each stage pits you against your team of Pokemon. Defeated Pokemon can be captured and used on your team to make other battles easier with Super Effective attacks. You’ll eventually earn Mega Stones which once the party leader has enough icons broken will have drastic effects on the board.
Pokemon Shuffle feels more rewarding than most Free-To-Play games. You aren’t only working to unlock more stages but also to catch new Pokemon. You have a tangible reason to replay levels because it can make you’re entire party better. The feeling of catching Pokemon is great especially if you catch them at a low percentage.
The Puzzle and Dragons Match-3 styles offers a looser experience and different strategies than the Bejeweled format. It leads to potentially much bigger combos and can really affect how the game can go. Pokemon Shuffle doesn’t over complicate it’s RPG aspects and has a simple optimize button to prepare you for any Pokemon.
Pokemon Shuffle is Free-to-Play so it does have micro-transactions. The only “premium” currency is jewels which can be earned through normal play and StreetPass occasionally. You only can use them for lives and coins, something that’s built up over time as well as giving you a few extra turns or seconds if you fail a stage. You would only buying convenience which can be tempting but easy to resist. The only problem with the energy system in Shuffle is that some stages can last a few seconds. If you’re trying to catch a Pokemon and have to play some of these stages or catch ones with a low chance to capture is frustrating. The 30 minute wait time is a little too long for how fast 5 lives can be used.
If you like these types of games there no reason why not to get Pokemon Shuffle. It’s free and great for short bursts of puzzle game fun.