We can all admit that the 'match-up' puzzle game market is pretty saturated right now, but that's not to say you should stop paying attention. Yosumin LIVE is an arcade port of the browser based web game Yosumin, which originally released on Japanese web game website @nifty - later releasing on the Nintendo DS only in Japan. It's a simple 'make four ends meet' puzzler with an extremely cute after taste to keep you amused.
Rather than knocking off Bejewelled completely, Yosumin LIVE works by observing a grid rather than influencing it. You observe pieces and then connect them up. Each corner must match with the same Yosumin shape, and by creating a square or rectangle you remove them from the grid, which then spawns more shapes to work with. You are timed though, so you can't just sit back and look forever. There are no unlocks or levels however, the game is about racking up a high score and matching up as quickly as possible.
Yosumin LIVE comes with limited choices in game modes. The single player modes include Endless and Battle. The multiplayer includes online and offline battles modes. The only other section you'll be paying attention to is the leaderboards because that is really what this game is all about.
Endless mode is pretty much that - Each level will have a requirement that you will have to fulfill, such as destroy 40 yellow Yosumin blocks and 30 green ones. It'll start off very simple, but as you start hitting over level 20 you will definitely notice a spike in difficulty and start to struggle to meet targets before your time runs out. Of course the bigger blocks of Yosumin you can destroy the better time bonus you gain.
There are even secret objectives to obtain, like chaining combo's and such. This unleashes a special power that could either fill up your time meter or mix up the Yosumin on the screen making it easier to spot the connections. If you find your self getting stuck, the Yosumin will wiggle to get your attention and offer a hint, much like Puzzle Quest.
Battle Mode comes in 3 varieties. Offline against a CPU, against a friend or online. You first get to choose your Yosumin character that helps you out with special moves, these can be triggered with the right trigger button after gaining a large Yosumin block or chain. The power ups are the same as the special challenges you complete in Endless mode, but can also affect the opposition. Some will slow down their cursor, speed up their decreasing time bar or increase yours.
Online Battle mode runs very smoothly and I had no trouble finding a game to play, though the lobbies are filled with mostly Japanese gamers. My only real issue is how easy it is to just quit out of a match you are loosing. The one good step is that when the online match is finished you can choose to play again straight away, play again choosing a different Yosumin or quit out. This is so much better compared to games like Arkanoid LIVE, which chuck you out of the lobby at the end of each match.
Yosumin LIVE is a fun, catchy and adorable puzzle title. You can tell by its over-the-top emotional style and catchy pop-like music that the game is inherently Japanese. This is what makes Yosumin LIVE so enjoyable, it's just a shame that there is not much else to it.