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Monday, January 16, 2012

Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles Review

Game Details:
1-2 Players
Standard Controller
Arcade Stick
VGA Compatible
VMU (4 Blocks)

When you first start this nice little Indie game it gives the option of either English or Japanese for language choices. Then you are brought to a colorful intro screen and asked for your name. Once it is input you have three modes of game play and I will try to explain each for you now.

Story - Now this is my favorite part as it has a cute anime story line that actually uses the developers names in the game. It has hints of RPG melded into a quirky puzzle game much like the hit game that came on everyone's Xbox 360 HDD Hexic. You move around and choose levels much like one did in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES with sprites that are very similar. The first couple levels you are tuning your Wind & Water skills for battle at the tournament coming up soon. I don't want to go to much more into detail as I don't want to ruin the game play for you but I did want to leave you wanting more so now feels like a good time to stop and move to the next style of game play.

Arcade Mode - Yep you guessed it, this is much like the game play aspect of the story mode. If you just want a quick play or just don't want to be fussed with the leveling up of story mode then this is the mode for you. Again a very basic clone of Hexic almost but none the less still a good game. The objective is to rotate the "elements" into a pattern that causes four of them to unite and explode thus dropping new blocks and adding to the fun. Over time the speed increases and hopefully so does yours or you are toast and it's game over.

Puzzle - This mode is much like the arcade mode but you have limited turns to complete the puzzle in or it is game over, back to the beginning and time to hone your skills. Not much else to say about this mode other then it can be addictive and hard at times.

There is also a mode called "Tutorial" that does just what it says, it will show you the basic game play. It also gives you a look inside on how to pull off chains and combos to really perfect your game play.

Graphics -
The game isn't a visual powerhouse but the frantic game play doesn't really allow you to see anything other then the puzzle at hand. I can say that they did go all out really for a independent game. It has a really neat intro video, a kind of insight into how the game was developed from a retro pixelated aspect, and bright vibrant colors make for a unique experience for puzzle and Dreamcast fans alike.

Your time is at the top and the left side shows your character that actually interacts once you achieve a combo/chain etc. In the two player mode you poke back and forth to the other character each time you score, the bigger the score the more "in your face" the dis really is and made my us laugh during testing. The right side shows your combo gauge, hi score, current score, level, and difficulty. The bottom shows your "Attack" & "Defense" levels as well.

Sound -
The sound is amazingly dynamic sounds that accurately portray the story elegantly. It intensifies as you mess up or a challenger has fired back with a big chain. I really enjoyed it as there was a nice mixture of sounds from the normal traditional sound of a Japanese game to the electric sound of the distinct American sounding guitar riffs.

Conclusion -
The game starts with a quote "It all starts with a pixel", we were really treated to a gem of a game well after the Dreamcast official demise and I suggest that this game be in everyone's library. Support third party developers guys so we can see more great games like this come in to fruition. This game is what the independent scene is about. Not a stupid SHMUP game as much as I love them but a quirky, fun, while still being a addictive & obsessive puzzle slash RPG game hybrid.


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