Bermuda Triangle, like any decent puzzler, wastes little time in getting down to business. After an initial Comic Book Panel-style cut-scene giving a quick insight into the plight of the Coral Reefs, we are brought to the main menu. From here, you can get a look at high scores that are sadly not online leader-board-equipped, the options menu that configures sound volume, or the Play Game menu that brings up three more choices.
One of three custom profiles is required for these modes, but is simple as pie to set up and the design of ship you choose to sit on the top screen during gameplay has little-to-no bearing on the game itself. Time Mode is just that, the basic game with a timer that can be added to on succession, and Endless Mode follows the ‘impossible to really win’ aspect of Tetris; just play till you drop. Story Mode is the real meat of the game, set over four islands of multiple stages to play through.
The core gameplay of Bermuda Triangle itself is fairly simple to get the hang of, but does not use the dual or touch screen aspects to a boundary-pushing degree, just a functional one. Like Bust-A-Move in reverse, blocks of multi-coloured coral gather at the top of the bottom screen, and you have to shoot more individually onto the top to gather three or more of the same colour to make them vanish, else a few more gather at each turn. Erasing these pieces in this manner creates pure sea coral at the bottom of the screen, and edges up the percentage completion meter. The level ends either positively when you reach 100% on that meter, or negatively when the unrefined coral at the top of the touch screen reaches the pure coral at the bottom. The game just oozes colour throughout, and here in particular makes certain you will not mistake one type for another, at least until the environmental hazards come into play.
Not wanting to keep things too simple, Northpole Studio has injected items and obstacles into the core mechanics. The squid that show up at random intervals black out one of the coral pieces so you cannot erase them for a number of turns, the Sharks attack your aim and send it where you do not want it to go, and the snails eat away at the pure coral you have created, thus reducing your completion meter.
The latter can be dealt with by one of the useable items you will gain, from a choice of four; the Anchor that you can drop onto pesky Sea Snails, the Bomb that wipes out a group of Coral bunched together, a Rainbow Coral that erases all coral the same colour as the one you hit with it, and the Wave that washes away the top row of blocks. These items are lifesavers in the later difficulty levels, and easy to obtain either from busting coral blocks that contain them, or by buying them from the main shop with the points you have accumulated thus far.
The top screen is more of a status holder than an integral part of the game, containing point stats, the colour of your next coral piece to fire, and a basic animation of your chosen ship on the waves. The touch aspect can be used equally as well as D-Pad and buttons, it is a matter of preference, and adds to a versatile gameplay mechanic that challenges the player to a sufficient degree, yet does not become engaging enough to make up for the lack of content elsewhere.
Outside of those three modes, there is, quite literally, no other way to play. No multiplayer support of any kind, be it local or online, no minigames or minor games with notable variations on the main game, just a basic High Score board that cannot take advantage of a worldwide community. Story Mode gives even a seasoned player a tough time of it in the later levels, but offers only another moral cut-scene and credits as a completion reward, and no incentive to return, and the core mechanics just are not engaging enough to make Time and Endless last to a sufficient degree. Bermuda Triangle would not be the first choice for puzzle enthusiasts looking at a shelf of DS software, but providing you are looking for a brief experience, it is by no means an unworthy one.