The gameplay here is exceptionally simple to learn, yet difficult to master, just as a puzzle game should be. The object of the game is to command a group of animals around a small island stage as they attempt to find their homes. It is easier said than done though; you have to move every animal at once. To rearrange the pack, simply bump one animal into an obstacle such as a rock or a fence. Should your animals fall off of the island, you will be forced to restart the stage. Once you complete eight of ten stages in a world, you can proceed to the next world and experience its new theme. A description of the game cannot do Puzzle Adventure justice—it must be experienced firsthand to truly grasp the high level of amusement. Some might find it rather deceptive to have high difficulty in such an endearing game, but it never becomes too much to handle. With a total of 50 stages, you will have your work cut out for you much longer than other puzzlers on the DSiWare service.
Also worthy of note is that the supposed ‘adventure’ suggested by the title is but a myth. The most adventuring to be done in the game is the progression from world to world. Although the game’s heroine, Chilia, will occasionally converse with you on the bottom screen, there’s virtually no story other than “we’ve got to get those cute little piggies into the barn”.
|The animals all move together – you’re going to have to think about this one|
Musically, Puzzle Adventure fails to deliver on several fronts with its overly simplistic and cutesy synthesized tunes. It sounds very generic, but it does fit with the game’s cheery theme. Children will be amused but the rest will feel alienated or simply turn off the sound. Some variety in the compositions would have gone a long way towards improving the game’s feel. Visually, it gives off a Japanese anime vibe with its in-game stages and the main character Chilia. The game clings tightly to the animal theme in all aspects and it pulls it off considerably well.
Is Animal Puzzle Adventure the finest puzzle game yet released on the DSiWare service? No, but with a little more effort and polish, it could take the cake. Ultimately, Animal Puzzle Adventure is a worthy rival to Mighty Flip Champs. The cheaper price point and additional content could convince a few to select this game over Champs, though. Either way, puzzle fans need to at least give Animal Puzzle Adventure a shot, in spite of its theme.
– Clark A