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Every Wednesday, at 7 PM on Twitch, I'm playing Steam games for you.
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Wednesday 29/03/2017: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

March 21, 2014

Puzzler Collection DS

This week, I played Pokémon HeartGold, trying to catch a Beldum in the Safari Zone. Here's my epic journey through this hard task, and I swear you don't want to miss a single bit of it. First, I placed the blocks in the Forest zone, then I waited seventy days, then I came back and-

Wait, what? I played another game for this review? ...The title says Puzzler Collection. I have a game like this? Really? I don't remember that... Wait, I'll go look in my collection. No... not this... neither... Ah! Wow, I didn't even know I had that game! Yet I've played it this week so that I could review it? Wow, it must be REALLY forgettable...

So, this game combines four types of paper puzzles. You know, the regular stuff: Crosswords, Word Searches, Sudokus and Fitword.


I guess that's all I can say as an introduction. This is Puzzler Collection, I guess. Enjoy this review.

So, as we start the game, we select a save file and there we go. Oh wait, did I mention you must hold the DS SIDEWAYS? Ooooh, the unexpected! This is so creative! This is totally not like the games that already do that, such as Hotel Dusk: Room 215! ...Which is a much more memorable game, by the way!

Before I go through the game's modes, I should explain the four different games in this. That won't be easy, they're so forgettable. Therefore, excuse me if I omit details. I tend to do that when I'm bored. Each of those games can be played on Beginner, Intermediate and Pro difficulty. For three of those games, the only thing that changes is the size of the grid and, thus, the amount of answers to put in there. What never changes, though, is that you could also play all these games for free, on paper.

Crossword: Very simple. On the top screen (located on the left), a list of clues. On the touch screen (on the right - for right-handed anyway), the grid. You basically select an empty square on the grid, most likely one that isn't at a cross. When you select the word, you can see the Across or Down clue for that word. To enter the word in the grid, you tap “Solve” under the grid and then tap the word's letters. In the right order, duh. I mean, you've probably ever solved a crossword on paper, right? So, yeah. For every word, you can tap “Hint” at any square and it'll fill up with the right letter. You can literally cheat all the way through. At the end, the grid is checked for errors. After each Crossword, some letters are picked in the grid and you must try to scramble them to make a word. And that's it.

Yawn... Excuse me.

Fitword: You're given a list of words and you must “fit” them all in the grid. First you pick a word on the touch screen. The grid will move from the top screen to the touch screen, and you can then tap the zone in which that word goes. I'd dare say it's even easier than the crosswords. No, actually, it really is. Next, six letters are picked again in the grid, and you must scramble them.

Seriously, was that really necessary? You just completed the damn puzzle, and you must prove once more that you're intelligent? Who the Hell was stupid enough to come up with that idea? No, seriously, if you don't discover the scrambled word, all your efforts to complete the puzzle aren't taken into account; you lose. Screw you, game!

Sudoku: Ah, a change from letters. You've played Sudoku at least once in your life, it's in about every newspaper now. And of course, there's dozens of variations on the regular Sudoku formula. But here, the game keeps it to the basic 6X6 and 9X9 grids. In case you have never heard of Sudokus, or if you never understood, here's how it works; the grid is filled with some numbers, and you have to fill in the rest. The same number cannot appear twice in the same row, column or block (of either 2X3 or 3X3, depending on the difficulty). Really, really easy to understand, really, really hard to complete in some cases.

Yaaaaaawwwwwwwwnnnn.... Oh, excuse me again.

Word Search: Yeah, another paper game you've certainly played while growing up, at least once. There's a series of words to be found in the grid, and you must go into the grid on the touch screen to find the words. You make a line from the first to the last letter of a sought word on the touch screen to eliminate that word. It's... basic, really.

Aaaaaaand... That covers it. This game is  not creative, it's bland and boring, and it's actually making me asleep. Good night! Or good day. Right now, I'm not sure.

What? It's... It's not over? ...I must still talk about the different modes? Oh damn, I was really hoping I had done enough. Fine, if you insist, I'll continue. You know, there's a much better review coming up next week, if you are bored by this one, you can just wait next week... Oh, what am I saying? Keep reading, I'm not writing this for nothing!

So, the main menu has six different options: “Puzzler Tournament”, “Quick Blast”, “Simply Puzzle”, “Fast & Fun”, “Head-To-Head” and “Options”. Let's see each one of them, one at a time.

First, you have to know what you want to do: Is it 50cc, 100cc, or 150cc? This sets the overall difficulty for the four tracks you'll be racing on. Pick your driver, pick a Cup and you should be fine. After all, this Mario Kart is just like all the other games in that seri- Wait a second, why am I holding my DS sideways? And playing this thing called Puzzler Collection?

...

Oh, I see. That's what I'm reviewing.

So, first things first, the “Puzzler Tournament” mode. This is the main mode, the one you have to complete to technically beat the game. When you select this mode, you then pick a difficulty. You're brought to a screen with 20 squares, with only the first one lit up. Each square contains a puzzle, one of the four I've described... I think I described them earlier. You usually have to complete the puzzle on the lit square to unlock the next one, and so on and so forth. You must do that for all 20 puzzles, after which you've completed that tournament. Oh, did I mention that there's a time limit for each puzzle? Also, if there's one kind of puzzle that you loathe, you have access to “Passes”, seven of them, which you can use to skip a puzzle. Kind of a neat touch, but then again, I doubt it's really THAT useful.

“Quick Blast” is a mode that lets you create your own daily puzzle routine. First off, you name your Quick Blast parameters. Sure, as if naming this was gonna be easy! Then, you pick the difficulty of the puzzles, from Beginner to Pro, and then an amount of time, from 5 to 30 minutes. Finally, you select which types of puzzles you want to see in your Quick Blast, Crossword, Fitword, Sudoku and/or Word search. And that's it, you've created your “routine”! Hurray, I'm so happy that I'm jumping on my bed.

Then, “Simply Puzzle” is, well... simply puzzles. That's all. You pick a difficulty, you pick the type of game, and that's all there is to this mode. If you hate the Tournament thing, or if you just want to play at your leisure, regardless of the mistakes you could do while playing, this is the perfect mode.

Next is “Basketball”. You can select between two modes in there; one will make you play in a team of three against another team of three, and the other will make you throw a series of fifteen basketballs, for which you must try to score as much as possib- Wait a second, I'm not playing Wii Sports Resort, I'm playing a DS game! And a boring one, at that!

Okay, where was I... Oh, right! The next mode in line is “Fast & Fun”. The description says “Complete a series of mini puzzles against the clock without making any mistakes”. Boy, I dread this mode. The puzzles are easier than the Beginner mode, but make a single mistake and you lose. Yes, that's for all four puzzle types, even the crosswords. It's annoying to lose because of a single mistake. By the way, you must beat 15 puzzles in a difficulty to unlock the next one. Hurray...

Head-to-Head cannot be pictured.
Next is “Head-To-Head”. You select the people who'll play the game (it's all played on the same DS, so there's no wireless bullcrap to endure for this game). There can be 2 to 4 people playing this mode. You then select a difficulty, the amount of lives each one of you has, and then the puzzle types that you two can encounter. How it works is that Player 1 solves one bit of the problem (a square in the Sudoku grid, a word placed in Fitword, a word found in Word Search or a word written in Crossword). If the answer is the right one, Player 1 hands the DS to Player 2, who then inputs an answer as well. If one player makes a mistake, they lose a life. The last remaining player wins. There's also a mode for which a player is automatically taken out of the competition if he/she takes too long to answer.

Finally, we have the options: SFX and music volume. That's all there is in this part of the game.

Hey, it's everyone's favorite game ever! Crosswords!
Everyone pull out their Styrofoam #1s and cheer!
So, final thoughts on this game? I don't think I'll surprise anyone: It's boring and forgettable! The game itself is nothing special, being a selection of only four different types of puzzles. For the record, last time I checked on official puzzle sites such as Conceptis, there were SIXTEEN different puzzle types, from Tic-Tac-Logic to Skyscrapers to Kakuro to Slitherlink! Heck, I have some Puzzler books at home, and they get extremely creative with the puzzle types, creating lots and lots of new versions with twists and added challenges! Yet this game has only the four most basic paper games of all. Congrats. The ones for which hundreds of books are sent out to bookstores every month.

The puzzles go from laughably easy to horribly hard, but it's usually caused by the type of puzzle; Word searches are always easy, crosswords are always a bit harder, while Fitwords and Sudokus are just of medium difficulty. There's an okay choice in modes, I think they really tried to do the best they could with what they have (which is, admittedly, really not a lot). Some of the details about certain modes make me cringe, such as being unable to make a single mistake in "Fast & Fun" mode.

The graphics? It's not even worth talking about them. When all there is to see is letters, numbers and grids, it gets bland quickly. Same for the music, which is (big surprise!) forgettable as Hell. In other words, a game that I strongly suggest you forget about. Don't buy it. Don't even think about it. I think in a few days, I'll have completely forgotten that this review exists. It's not a BAD game; it's not godawful, not painful to play with. But there's absolutely nothing interesting or worth paying for in there. I hear, though, that there were more games like this that were made for the Nintendo DS. I really hope they got more puzzle types, more creativity, more interesting stuff. Besides, I largely prefer the printed books.

And to finish this review of Mass Effect 3, I'll just say this: The ending makes a lot more sense if you remember that the character has suffered under those aliens, and he doesn't see things the right way anymore. His mind has been messed with, he can't tell good from bad. That's why the ending is so screwed up. Keep that in mind the next time you see it. Seriously, I don't see what the big fuss is about. I mean, I know there's the whole “select the circle” thing, but I'd say that's the point; for the last one, you HAD to make the wrong decision, because his perception of camps and sides had been altere-

Wait a second... What am I talking about? Why am I talking about a non-Nintendo game? Why am I holding a DS while doing so? And not even in the regular way? Oh, my head hurts, I feel tired, I don't want to think about this. Goodbye, see you next week for a review of a...

A PLAYSTATION GAME??????


(P.S. I'm not kidding.)