Fizz (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 23.09.2007 4

DK-Games is a French independent developer who choose to specialise in smaller projects aimed to appeal to every member of the family. The company previously developed life simulator My Little Flufties for the Nintendo DS, but their project as of late has been a space-themed puzzle game named Fizz, also on DS. Cubed3 were asked to be the first outlet to go hands-on with the title, and naturally we accepted...

Fizz is a little difficult to explain. Essentially, you are presented with a grid of 25 satellites, each with four antennae on them, and a coloured bulb behind each of the antennae. By using the touch screen, these satellites can be rotated and shifted around the playfield to adjust where they are and where each colour/antennae is positioned. The overall goal is to create energy loops by aligning identical colours between the satellites diagonally so that electricity sparks between the nodes. Connecting four or more satellites in a diamond shape creates a loop, so that they explode away, before more slide in to replace them. This isn't the easiest concept to understand in words alone, so hopefully the screenshots will help you to better understand.

It'd all be so simple if this was all that happened, though. Instead, you have things to contend with such as aliens and asteroids coming down and destroying your play field, and then there's the fact that you can't have electricity streams crossing over each other (an idea taken from the 'don't cross the streams' ideology of the Ghostbusters films). If this happens, you are given a few seconds to rotate the satellites enough so that they don't reach breaking point; if they do, one of the coloured nodes connected to the electricity streams will break, leaving it redundant until it is repaired by scratching it for a few moments with the stylus.

Screenshot for Fizz (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

If you think this all sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Upon switching on the game, we were greeted with a cheery squeal from the DK-Games logo/mascot, and launched straight into a menu screen. From there, we could select a number of modes; we opted to play in Infinite mode for most of our playtest (keep going as long as possible), though we did also test out the Time Attack (get as many points as possible in the time limit). First, you select your characters, which don't have any affect on the game and are for aesthetic purposes only, and then you select your difficulty setting and the planet on which you'd like to play. Once the game started, we were instantly hit with the question of 'what's going on?', and promptly reached a game over within a minute. From the start the controls are obvious, but it's difficult to tell where the patterns exist, and how to arrange the satellites to get the best possible results. This happened a few times.

However, there comes a point, as with all good puzzle games, where everything just clicks. After our embarrassing failures at first, we slowly realised what was going on; how to set up the satellites just right for an energy loop, and how to dispel alien invaders (give them a few sharp jabs with the stylus and they'll leave you alone again), for example. While we were still learning we were able to keep the timer bumped up (thus stopping a rocket launching into space, which ends the game) by creating small energy loops, just enough to get by. However, with more play we noticed extra things that we had originally overlooked – you can capture numbered satellites in an energy loop to increase your time, and explode unmovable satellites to gain more points, thus increasing the length of the game. Suddenly, the gameplay is, all at once, more complicated and yet easier to understand than when you first play.

Screenshot for Fizz (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

There are also white nodes which can connect with any other colour for an energy stream which we learnt to use to great effect. Indeed, with this knowledge in hand and a few additional practice runs under our wing, finding the right satellites to make patterns with became instantly intuitive. Whereas at the start we had been creating the most basic of energy loops, with four satellites connected and one in the middle, for a minimal amount of points, by our fourth or fifth turn we gained confidence and began to create larger loops for a greater number of points to add to the scoreboard. It was not too long before we were consistently clearing the majority of the screen at once with single loops, as we began to master the art of placing satellites to produce the best results. Games at the beginning of our playtest were lasting for a minute or less; by the end, we had an epic 40 minute game going with a high score that was insane compared to earlier efforts, and we had to be dragged away.

Screenshot for Fizz (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Fizz, then, goes from overly complicated to just right fairly rapidly, but it doesn't stray into the realms of easy. As we played more, interruptions that distracted us from our loop making became increasingly frequent and had to be dispatched before they froze movement of more satellites, or blocked our vision of what was going on. We had to adjust, rush and repair when asteroids came in and blew up nodes essential in the construction of our giant loops, all the while stopping other nodes being damaged and keeping the timer up so that we weren't finished off in that way. The board begins acting in new ways, such as rotating satellites or making the colours of nodes on certain satellites change at random, keeping everything fresh and pushing you close to the satisfying frustration puzzle games should supply.

Screenshot for Fizz (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Fizz could probably be done on other systems with a little imagination, but it would not work as well as it does on DS, and players would certainly not be able to react as quickly as the game needs you to be anything above adequate at playing it. We look forward to seeing the finished product out on shelves by the end of the year (DK-Games inform us it should be by November or December, but it has no set date as of yet) and being able to play it more in depth. There's also a multiplayer mode included that we imagine will get more than a little frantic and competitive. Keep your telescopes focused on space for this one...

Developer

DK

Publisher

Lexicon

Genre

Puzzle

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

Comments

Excellent stuff. Really sounds like something to look forward to :Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Nice preview and nice game, sounds like it should be good.

Good stuff, ta for getting a hands-on Mike :Smilie

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Art looks cheap. But it sounds like a great puzzle game. Like Meteos. What happened to Meteos? WAT HAPPENED AND WHY DID DISNEY TAKE IT AWAY?!

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