Backgrounds seem to be missing
Music can get annoying
Puzznic is a fun little puzzle game, originally brought out by Taito back in 1990. Now, 20 years on, this remake offers just as much fun as the original. The concept is simple - remove all blocks from the screen. The reality is much harder! Blocks are removed by placing two or more blocks of the same kind together, to make them disappear. Oh, it starts out simple enough, as the blocks only come in pairs, but soon you will get odd numbers of blocks (3 or 5), making things a lot trickier. You have to plan your moves carefully, and think ahead. Similar blocks disappear as soon as they touch each other, and it's all too easy for two blocks to disappear, leaving you with the third one that prevents you from completing the level.
Obstacles such as lifts, Rock-Blocks, and Icky-Blocks make things more interesting, and add a good challenge to the game. Blocks pushed onto lifts can be raised up to a higher level. Rock-Blocks look like solid rock that cannot be destroyed, but they can be pushed, which can either be a help or a hindrance. Icky-Blocks is very sticky, and anything that touches it cannot move anymore.
The game consist of 11 Worlds altogether - 1 Training World, and 10 'proper' Worlds - and each World contains several levels. The Training World teaches you the basic concepts of how to move, as well as introducing you to the obstacles. Completed Worlds are identified with a large green tick, and you can replay them as many times as you wish. Some Worlds are not accessible at the start, and cannot be unlocked until you complete the earlier levels.
So how do you move the blocks? Well don't worry, it's easy. Simply left-click or right-click on the block to move it left or right. If you make a mistake and can't finish the level, simply click on the rubbish bin to restart that level. An 'Undo' feature would have come in very handy, but at least you get infinite retries. Time is another factor, as you have to complete the level before time runs out. But if you don't manage it, you can just try again. Levels get progressively harder, and you will be rethinking your strategies over and over again.
Graphics for Puzznic are pleasant enough, and do the job, but they are not very earth-shattering. Then again, for this kind of game, you don't really need much. Shapes shown on the blocks are nice and clear, and also appear to be 3D. A different colour is used for each shape (pink cube, red ball, blue cone, green cylinder etc), so it's easy to identify them. More shapes are added as you progress through the levels. Blocks that the shapes are on, as well as the red 'lift' block, seem to be shiny, which is a nice effect. Level designs comes in a variety of weird shapes, and it's always interesting to see what shape you will get next level.
Blocks you need to clear, as well as the number of each block, are shown on the left. The number shown for each block updates itself, as blocks are removed, which is a very handy reference for those odd-numbered blocks! Your score, time left, and World \\ Level you are currently playing are also shown on the left. Backgrounds seem to be missing which is a real shame, as you are left with so much horrible white space that could be put to better use. Then again, it could be an issue with Vista.
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
Because of the nature of the game, there is not a large variety of sound effects. But the sound effects that *are* used are put to good effect. I love the 'plopping' sound, as blocks are being moved around. A fanfare is heard when all blocks have been successfully cleared for each level. But my favourite is the loud wail when you run out of time, lol. Music is nice and cheerful to listen to, but it is set on a loop, and ultimately gets repetitive and frustrating. When that happens, you can just put your own music on.
Puzznic is a great little puzzle game that has stood the test of time, and this remake is a great tribute to the original. Like all the best games, the concept is surprisingly simple. The aim of the game is to remove blocks from the screen by placing similar blocks together. But it's not as easy as it sounds. A Training World teaches you what to do, and how to move the blocks. After that, there is another 10 Worlds to complete. You are given infinite retries to complete each level, although an 'Undo' feature would have been very handy as well. Shapes shown on the blocks are nice and colourful, and have a 3D effect. However, backgrounds seem to be missing, leaving a lot of horrible white space. Sound effects are fun to hear, especially the loud wail as you run out of time. Music is cheerful, but ultimately gets repetitive. All in all, a nice, fun game that will give you a good challenge.
Review by: Frodo
Safe for all ages