Capcom Neopets Puzzle Adventure
Neopets Puzzle Adventure only delivers half of what it promises in the title.
- Surprisingly addictive puzzle gameplay, nice visuals
- Shallow story mode, running errands becomes tiresome
Neopets Puzzle Adventure is a passable game for little tykes who enjoy the land of Neopia, but grown gamers definitely won't be clamouring for this title.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 8 stores)
Neopets Puzzle Adventure only delivers half of what it promises in the title. While the puzzle elements show a faint bit of innovation, everything else in the game feels too simple and kid-oriented, even for casual gamers. Oddly enough, Neopets Puzzle Adventure would have been a better game without the story, characters, or sparse RPG elements.
For what it's worth, Neopets Puzzle Adventure actually surprised me. While the story mode is complete tripe, the puzzle action isn't too shabby. From the first moment the game loaded, I was already rolling my eyes at the game's sugar-coated plot. Basically, you customise your own Neopet from a sparse amount of races and color schemes, letting it loose on the world of Neopia to right wrongs and fight evil, which really equates to running errands for every strange creature you meet. All the tasks in the game are done via puzzles, namely a strange-yet-addicting take on "Reversi," which is where the real value of Neopets Puzzle Adventure is hidden.
Petpets Save The Day
In the old Reversi, you and an opponent took turns placing colored discs on a board while trying to outmanoeuvre each other. When you trapped your opponent's discs between yours, their colour flipped, giving you the points needed to win. In Neopets Puzzle Adventure, the gameplay changes with the addition of (ugh) "Petpets," little coloured Pokemon-like creatures with special game altering abilities. Strangely, the Petpets' different skills actually breathe new life into the old Reversi concept. Each Petpet has an ability that can make the difference between victory or defeat -- like eliminating multiple pieces and replacing them with your own -- but nothing that outright damages the gameplay. Setting up reversals and combos constantly had me thinking a few steps ahead of each move, and I actually lost a few matches simply by not paying attention.
If you're going to play Neopets Puzzle Adventure, multiplayer is definitely the way to go. When you have a good collection of Petpets in your stable, the flow of one simple game can shift often and rapidly, resulting in tons of unexpected combos and last-second reversals. Other games clearly based on Puzzle Quest and "Memory Match" are offered in the "Instant Action" mode, but none of them have the depth or polish of the Reversi-inspired puzzles. I really wish that all the games had been lumped into the main adventure, especially since the computer presents no real challenge once you've leveled up enough to use more than one Petpet in a battle.
Stay For The Puzzles
Overall, Neopets Puzzle Adventure is a good game for its target demographic -- children who will use the game's many unlockable codes to access various digital goodies on the Neopets website. The puzzle action delivered more fun than I expected, and the Petpets are a compelling, game-changing element. If you can ignore the lame, lengthy story and ridiculous-looking cast of characters, there's actually a good experience here buried under the Neopets' logo.
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