Puzzle Puppers (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 05.02.2017

Review for Puzzle Puppers on PC

Bad puns aside, small puzzle games are plenty popular nowadays. They're also a dime a dozen, it would seem. More than any other genre, simple puzzle games really have to go out of their way to stand out. It's not enough to drop the player into another multi-coloured room and hope they figure out how to manipulate the environment the way the dev thinks they should. It needs a level of pop to intrigue the player into diving into its small, bite-sized puzzles. Puzzle Puppers tries to do that, but it's hard to tell if it was a success.

Puzzle Puppers is all about stretching hungry puppies to their various dishes, a lot of times in environments that are not conducive to such behaviour. In short, you will need to stretch the puppies around environmental manipulators, and one another, in order to reach their bowls. This might seem simple, but like most any other game, it's not what it seems.

Early on, it's clear that Puzzle Puppers might be a tad more unforgiving than similar puzzle games. It's not uncommon to stumble across a puzzle you simply cannot solve, which is why it takes the high ground and lets you jump around, skipping puzzles that seem too daunting. This is good because the curve goes from simple to tricky really quick. While the levels aren't going to require graph paper and phoning architect to understand angles, the game is pretty tricky still.

Screenshot for Puzzle Puppers on PC

It finds some interesting ways to make the levels tricky. Early on, you'll be introduced to holes, which often move the puppy to a distant location, forcing the player to figure out how to use them to grab all the collectibles, cartoonish chunks of ham, before reaching their bowl. Later on, things like water paths force you in a certain direction and a certain distance, meaning you need to figure out how to lay out the puppies in some clever ways.

The game features the standard "Three Stars" reward system, which even plays into the achievements, as they all require certain levels get three stars. It's not remarkably imaginative, but it does what it needs to do. It gets the player to go back and replay levels, using later lessons to benefit early ones.

Screenshot for Puzzle Puppers on PC

The graphics won't wow anyone, but it's clear this game may have been designed for children. The simple graphics are very easy to take in, as puppies are clearly pink or green, and the simplicity of the look seems mainly to be the result of just wanting the graphics to function. The music, however, is a bit weirder. The soundtrack in each level is reminiscent of movie orchestral music from the forties and fifties. It's not bad, mind you, but just doesn't seem to fit into the world it's been placed in.

The biggest problem Puzzle Puppers faces, though, is being incredibly plain. While the idea is novel, it never really feels particularly exciting or interesting. The controls, all handled through the mouse, are actually fairly responsive, but once you have control, it never feels like you're unearthing anything unique to this title. A lot of that has to do with using every modern puzzle game cliché, though. Incredibly safe and clean graphics, collectibles that give you stars - it's all there. The safeness of the game isn't its biggest issue, but it is the most noticeable.

Screenshot for Puzzle Puppers on PC

No, the biggest issue is the puzzle difficulties, which are incredibly inconsistent. One level will be wickedly simple, while the next looks and feels almost impossible. Because of this, the novelty quickly disappears into the abyss left behind by not feeling satisfied. You may not feel like you did anything of value, instead just skipping the really hard levels and then solving the much easier ones. It seems like the "Three Star" system is so painfully similar to every other game, there's little guess how you handle it, and it just feels like a lot of the same.

This game shouldn't feel like a lot of the same thing we've come to expect from puzzle games, because the central theme is fairly unique. It seems as though the developer was concerned about upping the ante, instead following the mobile puzzle game rule book, despite being a PC release. On the flip side of that argument, though, children are likely to find this title fairly engaging, and that's probably the best group of people who could venture into this one.

Screenshot for Puzzle Puppers on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Puzzle Puppers has some issues, but it isn't a bad game by any means. It's just not a particularly good one. Instead, it sits in the middle, seeming like a lot of game design choices that feel safe stacked on top of each other. It's hard to say what could make it stand out, because it's enjoyable for what it is. What it is, unfortunately, is a game that falters for one of the most bizarre reasons out there: it's just too safe.

Developer

Cardboard Keep

Publisher

Cardboard Keep

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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