Puzzler World 2012 is the latest entry in the popular Nintendo DS series, promising a slew of over 1200 puzzles, as well as an array of additions and improvements.
At first, 560 puzzles are available through the central Challenge Mode, spread across a range of sixteen classic and new puzzle types including Crosswords, Codeword, Dropzone, Fitword, Link-A-Pix, Mix Up, Pathfinder, Silhouette, Spiral Crossword, Spot the Difference, Sudoku, Suko, Sum People, Takegaki, Wordsearch.
If this, for whatever reason, doesn’t provide you with enough variety to get your brain juices flowing, then successful completion of each individual puzzle rewards you with further bonus types to complete; Add Up, Chain Letters, Colour-In, Hangman, Jigsaw, Missing Piece, Picture Pairs, Splitwords, and Sum Up.
Such an extensive mixture proves the perfect blend, providing familiarity whilst also serving to introduce players to more recent puzzle types that they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
In most instances, you once again input answers through the implementation of handwriting recognition software – players writing individual letters and numbers within a yellow block on the touch screen that is then correlated across to the puzzle window. Any recognition discrepancies can also be addressed, the player able to train their own handwriting into the game – my E’s, for instance, was interpreted differently and I was easily able to speedily rectify this.
The scope in difficulty range is handily complimented by a Hint Token system, allowing players to request aid wherever needed. Such help is separated into three brackets of varying Hint Token cost, with five tokens allowing you to reveal a single correct letter or number, for example, whereas twenty tokens could unveil an entire word.
Those looking for a heightened level of challenge will be pleased to discover the inclusion of Master Mode, offering a tougher selection of puzzles for those that breeze their way through Challenge Mode.
A Trophy Cabinet also features, providing more objective based direction for those who relish such targets. Trophies were awarded for various achievements, such as completing a column of four puzzles or finishing 10% of a particular puzzle type.
If there was a place for criticism, it would be in regards to navigating the game’s user interface. Icons, rather than text, are widely used, vaguely recognisable to those familiar with such symbols, yet something the casual consumer, the audience for which the game is broadly targeted towards, will feel slightly alienated by upon the first impression. It’s simply not concise enough.
Similarly, those unfamiliar with certain puzzle types will be baffled as to what they must do at first. Whilst explanations are included in-game, they do not preface puzzles upon selection – what would have been a more natural design choice – and players must instead navigate to them, when necessary, through the menu.
Needless to say, Puzzler World 2012’s greatest strength is its extensive content. Filled to the brim with puzzles, this budget Nintendo DS release is sure to provide countless hours of brain scratching fun for aficionados willing to invest the time.