Puzzle games are one genre that has lasted through the ages and offers something for everyone whether you’re a casual Bejeweled addict, a hard-core Professor Layton lover or fall somewhere in between.
Puzzle Dimension is one of those titles hovering in the middle of the spectrum with a simple enough premise to be accessible, but with challenging and thought-provoking gameplay for the lifelong puzzle connoisseur. In Puzzle Dimension, you control a ball through 10 clusters of 10 puzzles each. Each cluster introduces one or two more puzzle mechanics starting with crumbling tiles that only allow to pass by once and ramping up quickly to include slippery ice tiles, spike tiles and more. Some of the new traps are redundant, though. For instance, while the fire tiles remain on the board, you can still only pass over them once. They are, functionally, no different than the crumbling tiles.
The purpose of the game is to collect all of the flowers in each level and reach the gate unharmed. As you traverse the different stages, you’ll transform the landscape from a pixilated wonderland, reminiscent of 3D Dot Game Heroes, to a more realistic visage. While there is no time limit, you’ll score more points for finishing the level quickly.
As you move your ball around the level, gravity will rotate with you, provided that you don’t leave the track. At times, you’ll need to strategically fall, but more often, you’ll need to figure out the path that bends the laws of physics to your needs. You can jump gaps and, for some of the puzzles, you’ll be hopping over one-hit tiles to make sure you leave yourself a path back. Unfortunately, despite your avatar being spherical, you are limited to the four primary directions for movement. Your ball also doesn’t roll per se, as it stops on each non-iced tile. This led me to more than a few accidental deaths, as it was jarring for me that the movement style didn’t match the avatar.
The music and sound effects are a perfect fit for the visuals. The chiptune soundtrack with its contemporary beat mirrors the transition from pixilated graphics to a more modern art style.
Puzzle Dimension also functions in 3D for those with the hardware to support it. Even without a compatible television, the depth effects are extremely well done and it’s easy to imagine how it would look behind 3D glasses. For additional variety, there are four “themes” that are simply color and texture swaps. They don’t change the gameplay, but do provide a visual change of pace.
For puzzle fans, both casual and serious, that are looking for a mind-bending, physics-based experience, Puzzle Dimension fits the bill.
Review copy provided by publisher.