The blending of genres has become a common feature within the video game world in more recent times, with developers looking to spice up aging genres with the inclusion of another ingredient. Independent game development company, Pieces Interactive, has used this trend to their advantage with their latest title: Puzzlegeddon.
The aim behind Puzzlegeddon is to compete for the top spot on a planet by creating multiple combos and to eliminate your opponents (coming in the form of bots, located on the planet’s islands) within the time limit. Rival bots vary in difficulty with a choice between easy, medium and hard available. Players are able to select and take the role of one of the themed islands from an array on offer, each of which offers a slight boost in a particular area during brawls.
Players collect resources through filling up coloured gauges by matching five or more of the same coloured blocks in the six-by-six grid, with each gauge representing a specific power: red (attack), green (defence), blue (boost) and yellow (disrupt). Each of the gauges contains three sections, with each section increasing the strength of the power – which can then be used as a deficit to the player’s opponents or beneficial to themselves, depending on the power. Whereas this sounds overly-complicated, the game’s rules and gameplay is brilliantly introduced through the use of a tutorial, which new players to the game will appreciate.
The above gameplay is evident within Puzzlegeddon’s Solo Brawl game modes: Deathmatch (timed games featuring a set number of opponents) and Battle Royale (a game that runs until the player is defeated). Whilst each of the game modes are enjoyable and will keep players entertained, they do get repetitive pretty quickly and don’t compensate for the lack of a true narrative or campaign mode. Furthermore, despite the fact that these game modes are also available to play over the Xbox Live service with up to five other players, the constant lack of players online makes this very limited and with no local split-screen support multiplayer for the title is more or less non-existent.
The final game mode featured in the game is Poison Peril, which removes the strategy elements from the game, leaving the core puzzle fundamentals and also sees a change in graphical style with the cute, fun-looking approach swapped for an evil, skull-filled manner. The aim of Poison Peril is to survive for as long as possible whilst racking up a high score via solving brainteasers. Examples of these brainteasers include creating a specific amount of combos and transforming a number of specific blocks. This is probably the better of the game modes with players being able to get to grips with the true puzzle style Puzzlegeddon pulls off exceedingly well.
Regrettably, this lack of game modes is where Puzzlegeddon’s biggest setback steps in. Whilst the game is enjoyable in short doses, the game’s replayability factor remains the underlying problem and at the 800 Microsoft Point price tag, this will surely put many gamers off a purchase.
Graphically, the Xbox Live Arcade title is impressive to some extent with the game displaying some nice details and textures throughout. Similarly, the audio music and sound effects prove to be simple yet effective as they fit in with the game’s unique manner splendidly.
Whilst Puzzlegeddon is one of the better attempts at redefining the puzzle genre due to the unique approaches and styles evident, the title’s lack of a campaign and the poor amount of game modes on offer ensures its replayability isn’t to a high standard, deeming the 800 Microsoft Point price tag a little on the expensive side.