There are so many fantastic puzzle games available for the Nintendo DS that it is sometimes difficult to choose just the right one for your liking. With games such as Picross, Puzzle League and Tetris DS already on the market, is there room for yet another style of brain-teaser? Yuke's is certainly hoping so, with its revitalised take on the old Tangram puzzle 'Neves'. Just how well does it fit the Nintendo DS, though?
What makes a good puzzle game? There are normally several factors, but the key one has to be 'simplicity'. You only have to look back over the years at the likes of Puzzle League or even Tetris to see that the basic ideas can often be the ones that become the most addictive. After all, nobody wants a puzzle game where each time you pick up and play for a few minutes you end up spending just as long trying to remember what on Earth the rules are. In Neves, which is based upon the old Tangram puzzle that reportedly harks back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279AD), players must use a selection of seven differing pieces (called 'Tans') to fill in a pre-determined shape on the puzzle board. And that is basically it! However, it is not just a case of touching each piece and dragging it to the appropriate space, as there is the matter of attempting to fit everything together so nothing spills out over the edges of the on-screen silhouette. The objective is to fill the shape perfectly with the pieces available.
To do so players will use the stylus to drag the Tans around, double-tapping on them to flip them over or even touching the pointed edges in order to rotate as required before making the final move. The premise may be straightforward, yet as the game progresses the silhouette shapes that have to be filled grow increasingly complex and more often than not players will find themselves seemingly flying through a puzzle only to get to the 'end' and find one Tan is left that does not actually fit into the remaining space...time for a re-think!
In terms of modes available, gamers can either work through the standard play mode, Silhouettes, solving puzzles without any time restrictions, take on the extra challenge of Time Pressure (against the clock) or '7 Steps' (beating a puzzle in...wait for it...only seven moves!). You can also keep a track of just how many different types of Tangram have been completed in 'The Room', which breaks each Tangram from the game down into categories and shows the percentage completed of each group, for example 'Character Text' shapes, 'Plants & Food' or 'Transportation'. Finally, for those wanting to play against a friend, there is 'Bragging Rights', which pits combatants against each other to see who can complete a puzzle the quickest using just the one DS game card. There really is so much to do that once hooked, Neves will have players' attention for a long time, until all five hundred-plus puzzles are completed that is, and even then there is the draw of beating fastest times. Puzzle fans should definitely make sure they take a look at this one...
Touch-screen rotation, positional movement and flipping are all that is required of the DS. But the magic comes in the variety of puzzles on offer for players to solve. It may look basic, but that is what people said about Tetris. Do not underestimate the enjoyment factor here.
Neither bad nor good, the visuals of Neves are just plain and simple, as they should be. The important factor is the navigation of the game is perfectly clear.
Whilst only a small selection of tunes are on offer, they all give off the air of a laid back jazz lounge, which surprisingly works very well in keeping gamers calm during tougher puzzles.
Can you fit specific shapes into the correct spaces? Sounds simple, right? Well it is in principle, but some of the later puzzles will have you scratching your head in despair. Throw in the hundreds of puzzles, different modes, plus multiplayer fun and this is a keeper indeed.
It has been said in the past that the most simple of puzzle ideas can oft be the most addictive, and this is most definitely the case with Neves. With a clear interface, great use of touch controls, a laid-back soundtrack and a wealth of brain-teasing silhouette puzzles to try and wrap your head around, Neves will drive gamers crazy, yet has enough draw to keep them coming back for 'just one more go'.
It's certainly an under the radar sort of game, but it should at least be tried out and is far better than the similar Tangram Mania cash-in that just got released as well...
Great review Raz.
I actually had my eyes on this game as I was a fan of other tangram games that have appeared but they have been a bit to easy since most of them were actually catered for children. Now just need to find a cheap copy.
Thanks Bit difficult to write too much about it, but hopefully I got the point across with the whole 'simple, yet addictive' theme.
I have to admit I'd not heard of Tangram before (or Lucky Puzzle as I've heard some call it)...but I really enjoyed this!
Seems simple enough, will hopefully give it a try sometimes Tis usually the simple ones that keep you going for hours
Top review raz-a-ma-taz!
Hah, flicking through the database I just came across this. I was one of those that won a copy of it in the comp a few years back! Fantastic little puzzler that is perfect for pick up and play when you've got a few mins to kill. Still yet to beat all the puzzles, but will hopefully get around to it one day. Love hurting my brain with these games ;P
Edit: Jesus, the feed says I commented on Wii Fit. More stuff for jb to fix up! ;P
( Edited 01.09.2011 00:40 by Azuardo )