Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'Puzzlejuice' Review

What do you take when you take Tetris and Boggle, and then you mash them together into one game?
You get Puzzlejuice. Makes me wonder where the “juice” part came from, doesn’t it?
Anyways, Puzzlejuice is a mixture of Tetris, match-3, and Boggle into one entirely new type of game, and you’ll be surprised at exactly how well that delivers.

When you first begin a game, you’ve got an empty screen. As Tetris pieces fall, it’s your job to rotate and position the pieces to obtain a full line of blocks horizontally. You’re able to tap to rotate, drag to position left and right, and flick to hard drop. However, instead of being able to clear line, that line turns into a line of letters, which then can be cleared by creating words by connecting letters in all 8 directions. If the word is long enough, you’ll also destroy any adjacent blocks. In addition to this, each individual block has a color. By tapping a group of 3 blocks with matching colors, you’re able to turn those blocks into letters also. Most of these mechanics work extremely well. There are a few times where you’ll drag and misspell a word, or accidentally rotate a piece you didn’t want to, but for the most part, the game’s controls work without too much flaw. I do wish there was an option to rotate your piece both ways; hopefully this gets implemented in the future.

Also, there are unlockable powerups for you to us once you complete certain achievements. These powerups are extremely helpful in getting you out of a jam or aiding you to score more points. But the icing on the cake is the combo system; there’s a clear timer that indicates when your combo will revert back to x0, and whenever you spell a word, tap a match-3, or create a new line, your combo’s timer resets. This combo system is what keeps the game more than just any leisure game, because it makes Puzzlejuice a thrilling game that keep you on your toes.

I’ve never been more impressed with how Puzzlejuice presents itself. From odd names for modes to calling the “exit” button “rage quit”, Puzzlejuice separates itself from other games by giving itself a punchy personality. In addition, everything is in the menu extremely easy to navigate as well as being two different difficulties, Hard Mode (which is actually easy) and Euro Extreme Mode (which is the standard mode) making this game simple for anybody to access.

Clean. Fresh. Those are the words that come to my mind when I think of Puzzlejuice’s art style. Everything is crystal clear and is animated to near perfection. There have been a few instances of slow-down during the game, this has only occurred at the beginning for me, and thus has not posed any major issue.

Puzzlejuice’s soundtrack is creative and relaxing; it fits perfectly with its personality and art style and the sound design lets your satisfaction known when those words are clear or that bomb explodes. Straight up: It’s good.

Puzzlejuice offers two main modes: Core Mode (standard gameplay) the Zen Mode, which really isn’t Zen at all. It’s the quickplay mode, as you’ve got 90 seconds to score as many points as possible. If you consider the addictive gameplay, then tack on the flexibility to play Puzzlejuice for any extended period of time, or a quick 90 second session, I see no reason why this game will not last.

Puzzlejuice is a delicious melting pot of classic puzzle games. With its strong gameplay and personality, I see no reason why anybody would pass upon this game. There are a few nitpicks that keep it from receiving a perfect score, but I’ll let you know that it was extremely close to receiving one. Nonetheless, there’s no reason not to purchase this fantastic puzzler.

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Replay: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5


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