You know Donkey Kong, right? Classic Nintendo arcade game, origin of Mario? Sure you do.
Donkey Kong is a classic with good reason: it’s solid arcade fare. Its mechanics are simple and straightforward to understand, it’s friendly to quick play sessions, it’s enormously addictive and it consistently challenges its players with just minor, progressively more difficult variations on the same four levels.
The 1994 Game Boy version surely can’t be anything particularly special, right? Or could it? Well, it came out thirteen years after the arcade original, so either someone at Nintendo was really confident in the staying power of its early arcade games — actually not all that unreasonable an assumption — or something interesting was going on.
Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Donkey Kong
A lot of games that really stand the test of time are based on a very simple idea.
This is particularly apparent in the puzzle game genre, which typically involves little more than matching shapes and colours in one form or another. And indeed said genre is home to some absolutely timeless classics that are still getting rereleases and reimaginings today.
One puzzler from the early days of gaming that often seems to get forgotten, however, is Sega’s Columns — and that’s a bit of a shame, because it’s an interesting twist on the usual falling block puzzle format.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Columns
I have a strange relationship with the Nintendo 3DS. I often find myself thinking of it as one of my least favourite gaming systems for numerous reasons… but every so often I’m reminded about the things that make it unique.
Sure, there’s the first-party Nintendo stuff that provides obvious uniqueness, but another aspect of the 3DS that is not discussed nearly as much as it deserves is the amount of interesting, creative and downright weird download-only games buried in the eShop.
Many of these games are published by a company called Circle Entertainment, and they run the gamut from retro-inspired arcade titles to highly creative puzzles and adventures. The subject of today’s piece very much falls into the latter category.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Puzzle Labyrinth
Want my money? Release a game in a niche genre like puzzler or shoot ’em up at retail rather than digital-only. Increase your chances further by making my first ever waifu one of its mascots.
That was seriously all it took to get me interested in Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase, a puzzle game from City Connection and Dispatch Games for Nintendo Switch. So it’s kind of fortunate that the game actually turned out to be highly enjoyable, too.
If your life has been sadly lacking in fruit-popping fairies lately, then this is one you’ll want to add to your library.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Soldam
What a glorious name for a video game: Cameltry. Say it to yourself a few times. Cameltry. Cameltry. Cameltry.
So far as I can determine, there is no meaning to the word beyond “a 1989 arcade game by Taito”, which is sort of a shame, but, well, a game having such a peculiar name is at least one way to ensure it is memorable.
Fortunately, Cameltry is also a highly enjoyable if often overlooked installment in Taito’s arcade back catalogue, and well worth your time if you enjoy fiddly puzzle games and obstacle courses.
Continue reading Taito Essentials: Cameltry
There’s been an unwritten rule ever since the days of the Game Boy that every major new handheld system must launch with at least one awesome puzzle game.
Sony’s PlayStation Portable was no exception, launching with the wonderful Lumines (pronounced “luminous”, not “loo-mines”, as I’ve heard some people call it), a game that combined the familiar style of falling-block puzzling with the synaesthetic blend of light and sound patterns designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi had used to such great effect in his renowned Dreamcast title Rez, and which he would later use once again in the PSP versions of Gunpey and Every Extend Extra.
Lumines isn’t a complex game in mechanical terms. But it is most definitely not a quick-hit throwaway experience, either; on the contrary, when you sit down for a game of Lumines, expect to be staring glassy-eyed at your PSP for at least half an hour before you’ll be able to tear yourself away.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Lumines
Every Extend Extra is a game that defies easy description. Is it a shoot ’em up? Is it a puzzle game? Yes. And no. And… uh…
For those familiar with the work of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Q Entertainment, it is somewhat par for the course in that it is developed around the concept of “synaesthesia” — the subconscious connections that some people make between different sensory inputs, in this case sound, visuals and “touch” of sorts through gameplay.
But for everyone else, it’s an initially baffling experience that, before long, becomes utterly compelling and fiendishly addictive.
Continue reading Shmuzzler Essentials: Every Extend Extra