Back in 2009, I reviewed a puzzle compilation by the name of Puzzler World for the DS. I really enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t full of bells and whistles. In fact, I pretty much played it on and off for the next couple of years, until I finally cleared the last puzzle.
When I saw that Big Fish had this up for sale, I immediately took interest. Sure, as I found out, it was the same game as the one I had already reviewed, but it was on the PC. There were sure to be several key changes that could enhance the gameplay.
Now as this is a port, I will be using pieces from my old review. The old stuff will be in italics, so if you want, you can just skip those parts and read the new stuff.
With that out of the way, we can get to the review!
First up is Challenge Mode. Here you have a total of over five hundred different puzzles, each with a smaller mini puzzle attached to it for a total of over a thousand different things to do in this mode. You have eight primary puzzles to play with. These are word finds, fill-ins, Sudoku, crosswords, codewords, link-a-pix, spot the difference, and silhouettes. You can play any of the puzzles you want in whatever order you want. The full compliment is unlocked from the start. If you want to do nothing by word finds for a while, you have that option. After you complete a puzzle, you’ll unlock a smaller puzzle to go along with it. These include anagrams, Hangman, fill in the missing piece, memorize facts about a picture, and equations where you need to fill in the mathematical symbols. The big puzzles can go anywhere from two to twenty minutes depending on your skill, while the smaller puzzles are usually about half a minute in length. After you complete any puzzle, you’ll be given hint coins that can be used for any subsequent puzzle. You are given plenty of these throughout the game. This mode will sucks up hours and hours of your time by itself.
If you finish Challenge Mode, or just feel like playing a random puzzle, Quick Play is your other option. You can chose any of the eight primary puzzles, but it will be an easier puzzle than you’re likely to find in Challenge Mode. You have an infinite number of hint coins to use as well, so there is no excuse for not finishing.
The game still allows you to program in your handwriting style, though using the mouse is a whole different animal. It also seems completely pointless, as you can use the onscreen keyboard, or your actual keyboard itself. Still, the option is nifty nonetheless. I was able to train it so that whenever I drew an eight, it read it as a one. I see some pranking in the future.
There aren’t a lot of modes to speak of in Puzzler World, but what is here is done quite well and offers plenty of content to sink your teeth into.
This is a simple game from top to bottom.
Most everything in the game is either a menu or a standard puzzle setup. There aren’t any fancy borders or the like to worry about either. As far as Sudoku fields go, I guess the game does pretty good. The colors are surprisingly vibrant.
When you complete a puzzle, you’ll get to chose a gift which will contain hint coins. The sparkle effect when you make your choice is rather pleasant to look at. The fact that this is major enough to be mentioned tells you how little there is going on with the game.
The coolest effect in the game happens when you’re playing Hangman. The little stick figure will frown in worry when you miss a letter and will let out a sigh of relief when you guess the word. It’s a nice touch.
The screen is a bit stretched, which doesn’t matter for most of the game, but is terrible for the link-a-pix puzzles. I had a hard time telling eights from threes, and some of the colors were very hard to read until I changed my monitor settings. It’s a small problem, but something worth mentioning nonetheless.
There’s barely any music in the game. There’s a few elevator tunes that play during the menus and another that plays during the timed games like the anagrams. For any of the main puzzles, there is no music at all.
The sound effects are there, but it’s mostly just chimes and whistles for when you find a word or the like. The sounds are pretty nice I suppose, but they’re certainly not necessary or useful in anyway.
This is a game where you don’t need to have the sound on.
When looking back at my DS review, too much of the Gameplay section was dedicated to talks of styluses and how you hold the system. I’ll pretty much have to rewrite everything here. Oh well.
There are a number of game types available for play. Basics like word finds, Sudoku, and spot the difference work just the way you’d want them. The mouse controls are simple, easy to figure out, and work great.
For many of the puzzles, you will actually have three different options of how to input things. For example, during a crossword, you can use the handwriting tool, use an onscreen keyboard, or use your own keyboard in order to type in the letters. I have to say that using the keyboard is a dramatic improvement. Fill-ins that took me several minutes to complete on the DS now took less than a single minute. That’s simply because handwriting cannot keep up with typing speed.
The hint system is interesting. You earn hint coins at the end of each puzzle. These can be spent in various amounts to help solve a future puzzle. For example, in Sudoku, five coins will reveal a single number of your choosing. Ten coins will reveal any mistakes you have made. If you go to the max and spend twenty coins, you can reveal an entire section. Several puzzles are easy enough that they can be used to build up a supply of hint coins for the tougher sections.
There are a couple of issues. The handwriting mechanic is really unneeded. It is by far the slowest way of doing things, and also the most prone to error. It was needed on the DS, but is a vestigial appendage on the PC. Also, what this game really needed was the ability to click and drag letters, words, and numbers to where you wanted them. Drop the former mechanic for the latter, and this would be a much tighter game.
Still, when it comes to doing simple pencil games on a PC, it is very hard to screw things up. This game controls and functions exactly the way it should. There simply was room for improvement.
This game can last you dozens and dozens of hours.
If you average it out to even a mere three minutes per puzzle, the game will last you well upwards of twenty hours. That average doesn’t even work though, as several puzzles can last in excess of ten minutes. Given that there are over a thousand challenges in Challenge Mode and a ton of puzzles in the Quick Play option, this game ends up being far superior to those books you find in convenience stores.
The only thing that bugs me is that you can’t select a degree of difficulty in Quick Play. Otherwise, the game offers plenty of content for a budget title.
The hint coins make this game a cinch to complete if you use them. A good portion of the puzzles merely require patience to solve, so when you get to actual tough sections, you’ll have plenty of coins to buy hints with.
There are a far greater number of the easier puzzles as well. Word finds and fill-ins account for nearly half of the puzzles in Challenge Mode. The tougher puzzles, such as the crosswords and codewords, are a significantly smaller percentage.
If you’re looking for a tough challenge, avoid using the hints.
Well, none of the puzzles in this game are new. They’re old as can be.
I personally haven’t played a game with the ability to fit the game to your writing style, so that’s nice.
This is a game for those looking for something fun and familiar, not new.
I will add that at this point I’ve played a few titles that allow you to adjust how the game reads your handwriting. That comes with years of playing all kinds of DS games.
However, I did still find that these simple, classic games are still addicting. Under the guise of “reminding myself how things work”Â, I ended up playing well over a dozen puzzles when I started the game up. After all, it’s not like I have the kind of memory that would allow me to remember where every word was located, or all of the answers to a crossword.
If you need a time killer, this kind of game will fit the bill greatly.
This game is already readily available. Not only can you get it on the DS, but PC users have been able to get it via Steam for quite some time. Heck, the sequel has also been available for several months. This is a not a new game, and it shows.
Regardless, this game has great appeal. It isn’t expensive, and it has a ton of content for you to work your way through. These are the kinds of games that anyone can play and do well at, especially with the generous hint system. This game also has an edge over the DS version, as mouse and keyboard controls save time and are just as easy to use.
Playing this game was like revisiting an old friend. I truly enjoyed Puzzler World, and I’m glad I have all of that content available for play on my PC now as well.
That being said, there should have been some effort to add additional content. More puzzles, modes, or even a flashier presentation would have gone a long way. This is a not a new game, and the addition of obvious control schemes is simply not enough of a change.
Appeal Factor: Above Average
Final Score: Above Average Game!
Short Attention Span Summary
Puzzler World on the PC is just as fun as it ever was on the DS. While there certainly could have done to make this version superior, it turns out that that there’s only so much you can do to improve on classic pencil. Having mouse and keyboard controls is definitely a welcome addition however. If you’re looking for a great time killer on your PC, this will certainly fit the bill.