Community Games Spotlight: Puzzle and Trivia
Developer: Fuzzy Bug
Have you ever had an addiction to something and you couldn’t quite explain why? That’s the feeling you will get after playing Word Soup.
Word Soup is sort of a puzzle game, in the game there will be a screen filled with different colored blocks, and the point is to find words out of the letters and try to assemble as many words as possible. Once you assemble the blocks into words, they disappear. There are three different game modes, a Timed Mode, a Brain Mode, and a Relaxed Mode. Longer words that use more difficulty letters, like X, Z, etc, give a higher score than other words.
Timed Mode is exactly what is sounds like, it the main game on a time limit. Brain Mode is probably my favorite; you assemble words together and level up if you get a certain amount of words. Depending on the length of the words you score in a level you will gain additional blocks. This is important since more blocks give you more words combinations, which will help you level up. Keep spelling smaller words and you’ll barely last a couple of rounds. Relaxed Mode just strips away the stipulations of the other two modes and lets you just try to see how many words you can put together without a time limit or levels.
Word Soup is also one of the more addictive puzzle games I’ve played. It seems like such a simple concept but it’ll easily absorb you into trying to spell the largest word possible. The only issue I have is that if you try playing it on an SDTV the image seems a little stretched and it can be hard to see the letters all the way to the left of the screen.
For 400 points it’s easy to see why this is one of the better selling Community Games. The PC version costs much more. Plus the 4 minute demo window is perfect for this game since if you play either the Timed Mode or Brain Mode it’s sort of impossible to finish before the time limit is up, but the time limit is long enough where you really want to find out how well you did.
Final Rating: Buy
Developer: JDP Creations
Couples Sudoku takes the addictive game of Sudoku and adds in a Co-Op mode, various Competitive Modes, and an Arcade Mode. I just can’t say enough about how fantastic this game is if you like Sudoku puzzles. The Time Limit modes are grueling, and playing either cooperatively or competitively the game adds a new twist. Unfortunately my wife is much, much better than me at Sudoku so I can’t say I entirely enjoy the competitive modes, but the Co-Op play is very well designed.
The Arcade mode is another just fantastic addition to Sudoku. You get a set amount of lives and have to solve puzzles. While you are solving puzzles beetles will scurry out and try to steal the numbers you have placed on the board. Trying to keep the beetles away, manage your time, and try not to make a mistake (the wrong number in a box will cost a life) is strangely intense.
200 points for this game is a steal, especially when you consider that it’s easily on par if not better than Buku Sudoku on Xbox Live Arcade.
Final Rating: Buy
Developer: Paul Hudson aka Hudzilla
On the surface Brain Party appears to be another clone of brain testing games. I mean there’s been Brain Challenge, Brain Age, Hot Brain and many more. So why bother purchasing Brain Party?
For starters, while it is similar to other “ËœBrain’ games in the way it has mini-games to test your knowledge and reflexes, then it assigns a score, it also manages to be different and in many ways better than some of the other similar games from bigger studios. For one thing the game manages to pack in a lot of different types of mini-games, 25 in all, and all of the games are generally more involved than simply adding some numbers, connecting dots, or simple memorization. In the demo you can play a game where food is assigned a number, and then the game starts throwing out math equations with the food previously shown and you have to not only quickly try to remember which food represents which number, but you also have to try and solve the problem.
There are bunch of interesting games that challenge the player to think quickly. While I’m not sure of the actual learning value of any of these games, they’re certainly more interesting and more varied than the puzzles you will find in other Brain games. There’s a single player mode that keeps track of different stats, and a multiplayer mode, which is like the main single player mode, on you it’s a race to clear the mini-games the fastest.
If you generally aren’t into this type of game Brain Party will probably not change your mind, but compared to other types of this style of game, Brain Party stands out with a great selection of interesting mind games.
Final Rating: Try
Developer: Evolution Dreams Studio
One of the biggest enemies of productivity is the match-3 puzzle game. No matter what flavor it comes in, generally these games are attention consuming time wasters. Planet Delta is no exception.
The main difference between Planet Delta and say Super Bust-A-Move is how you launch the colored spheres that you are trying to match up. The approach that this game takes is sort of like shooting the ball in a game of pinball, on the left side of the screen the next ball you shoot will appear and underneath it is a meter. Holding down a button will determine the strength that you shoot the ball at, the stronger you launch the ball the farther to the right of the screen it will land.
Unlike a game like Bust-A-Move where the colored balls all sort of stick to each other, the balls in Planet Delta will roll to the left or the right if the land oddly. I love this type of game, and normally I’m also not very good at it, but the controls in Planet Delta are easy to pick up and use.
The game features multiple paths and different challenges, so the 400 Point price feels appropriate. Generally this type of game will also feature some sort of multiplayer mode, and it’s disappointing to see one absent in this game, but there is certainly enough content to justify at downloading the game to see if you’ll like it. If you’re like me than you’ll get hooked right away and curse the 4-minute limit.
Final Rating: Try
Developer: Running Pixel
Approaching the match 3 puzzle genre from a different angle is Crystal Crush. Instead of aiming a colored ball at a grid, in Crystal Crush, you instead control the grid. The grid is in the middle of the screen and instead of colored balls coming from one direction; they come from 3 different directions. The point of the game is to rotate the grid around so in order to line the balls up, which at first is easy, but with different grid patterns and the colored balls launching faster and faster, this is easier said than done.
It’s a great idea, and it all flows together really well. Everything from the menu design on up is well done, and the only real complaint I have is that I wish the game displayed a little bit larger, it seems sort of small in the center of the screen and when the action gets hectic you don’t want to have to squint to try and figure out what the next best move might be. There seems to be wasted screen space that could’ve been better used.
Crystal Crush offers four different modes including local multiplayer support, and has a ton of different styled puzzles to play through. It takes a bit of a risk with the usual match 3 formula, but it’s definitely worth trying out.
Final Rating: Try