A Wargamer review for XboxHornet
Kaotik Puzzle, from Silvermax Studio, is a nice throw back for fans or newcomers to the classic puzzle game Tetris Attack. Similar to Tetris Attack, the player is presented with a screen of coloured tiles that constantly rise. The objective of the game is to keep these tiles from reaching the top. To do this, the player must match colours in groups of at least three or four depending on the setting. Unlike Tetris Attack, however, it is a one-on-one battle against either an AI or human opponent.
There are two ways to play the game – Single Player or Multiplayer.
In single player there are 3 modes – Kaos, Variable, and Equal mode – in which you battle an AI opponent. First, Kaos mode gives you the option of choosing a separate character than your opponent. This is a very nice mode especially for multiplayer. Second, Variable mode makes your character match your opponents. Third, Equal mode is similar to Variable mode, except your opponent uses the same character as you. Once mode is chosen, there are six characters to choose from, each with their own cursor, way of matching tiles, and an attack. For fans of Tetris Attack, you’ll be happy to know that one of the cursors is very similar. The character/cursor chosen depends on the preference of the player. For example, one cursor rotates tiles as a group of four in a square form, while another will allow you to pick a single tile and move it anywhere on the screen. Each attack that the characters have is somewhat similar. There are bombs, timed bombs, and hidden tiles that eventually flip to coloured tiles; these attacks are automatically used when you create a match that is equal to the group configuration for your character. This makes the game much harder for your opponent as the screen starts to fill up with tiles that cannot be matched right away. Lastly, there are 5 difficulty settings for the AI. If this is your first time, it’s best to try the game in a lower setting than normal. If you are familiar with these match three puzzle games, stick to normal. For experience players, try something higher, but keep in mind, extreme is nearly impossible.
The controls are simple – use the left thumbstick or D-pad to move the cursor around the screen, and use the A button to rotate or select the tile(s). One cursor also allows you to use the right thumbstick to move the tile, which feels a little slower compared to the other methods. Using these controls, you must keep the coloured tiles from reaching the top of screen while using attacks to make the ascension of your opponent’s tiles faster.
The core multiplayer portion of the game is where all the fun is. It’s a one-on-one, highly competitive splitscreen battle against a human player as you keep your blocks from reaching the top. Depending on the skill of your opponent, this can be quite the challenge. Gameplay wise, it’s the same as single player. With each character you choose, a different attack can be used. The same modes from single player are present here such as Equal and Kaos mode. With Kaos mode, each player may choose their own preferred character. This is a really nice mode because if you are really good with a certain character, you aren’t stuck playing the same one as your opponent, which he may be good with. If you really want to mix things up, there is a third mode – Custom. Here, you can mix the cursor with different matching configurations and attacks. Of course, other multiplayer options are available such as system link and online play. I tried to play a random game online, but of course, like most indie games, no one else was looking for a match. That is ok though because with this mode, you can invite a friend to play from the comfort of their own home.
In the graphics department, there isn’t a whole lot to say. I mean, it’s great; nothing bad to be said about it. Everything is very polished and smooth which makes it very easy to recognize each tile and make a match quickly for success.
According to the developer, the audio is a remix from an Amstrad CPC game. I don’t know what game, but the remix is very well done. It fits the overall theme nicely. After a while it may feel repetitive, but depending on how focused you are, you start to forget there is music playing. If you simply don’t like it at all or just want something different, the game supports custom soundtrack that allows you to play your own songs from the Xbox 360 HDD.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun with the game. Most of the time I’ve been playing splitscreen multiplayer with a friend and I can definitely say it is very competitive and challenging with the right opponent. One thing I feel could have been added to the game would have been a better description as to what each cursor did, how the attacks are played, and so on. Eventually you catch on and learn from playing, but being able to read it first and then test it would have been a nice addition. It would have been tough to write in a way that was easy to understand, but even a video tutorial would help newcomers. If you want to take a break, or just want to see a really epic match, set the game to demo mode and watch the AI battle it out on what may be Extreme. You may not necessarily learn how to play from it, but is a nice break after an intense match. Lastly, there are player statistics. It’s always nice to see how well you did overall and is something lacking in a lot of indie games. What are shown here are your high score, Total play time, chains, combos and games won.
So, in the end, if you’ve ever played a match three puzzle game like Bejeweled or simply Tetris Attack, you’ll be very familiar with how Kaotik Puzzle is played. Chances are you’ve already bought it and really like it. For 240 points, you can’t go wrong. It’s too good to pass.
Game score 8.5/10
To download a free demo click here