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North America Details

Publisher: D3Publisher of America
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Genre: Action, Puzzle
Players: Single Player, 2 Player Simultaneous
ESRB: Everyone 10+


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Game Review


Shulk
Mar 08 2012 06:02 PM
Word was out about this new puzzle game for the DS that had RPG elements. At first it didn’t sound too interesting to me. I had thought to myself, “An RPG game that you battle with puzzles?! That sounds stupid.” Yet the more I heard about it, the more intrigued I became. Finally I heard some more details about the game, and I knew I had to have it! My quest began, but was short lived as I went from store to store and to no avail. I couldn’t find the game anywhere! I was about to give up in the final store when someone came to my aid. At last, the game I longed for was in my grasp, and soon to be in my precious DS.

STORYLINE:

I bet you’ve never heard of a puzzle game that had a storyline, have you? Well, look no further because now we have one! The adventure begins as you are training to be part of the royal knights for the Queen. You enter your first few battles not expecting much, but boy do things fly by. Before you know it, the Queen asks for help in delivering a letter to your father. He is quite happy to see you and even gives you a gift left behind by your late grandfather. Though the happy reunion doesn’t last long.

Things are heating up as undead creatures are over powering the city, and everyone thought your grandfather was going crazy before he died. Boy, were they wrong! Soon you find yourself traveling all over to recruit help to free the land from evil Warlords that have been controlling what’s going on. Wrenched scum is what I would call them. Many times some try to persuade you to turn the other way or even worse, join forces with them. Whatever your choice may be, the battle is going to be a long one. For me, I always did what was right. At times the story seemed to be a bit dry to me. It kind of felt like a stage play gone bad. So this is not the highlight of the game by any means.

GAME PLAY:

As you start the game you will have four different classes to choose from along with four different characters. The characters themselves don’t differ in any way, except for looks. The classes, however, do hold differences.

Creating your Hero:

Druids are well schooled in the magic of nature with many spells based on Yellow and Green Mana. They defeat their foes in a subtle manner, often doing such things as entangling them or changing the gems on the board.

Knights are noble and chivalrous warriors who excel in using the Stars on the board to great effect, such as gaining extra XP or healing themselves. They also have a good stock of damage spells based on Red and Green Mana.

Warriors are fierce and efficient fighters whose special attacks mostly deal direct damage to their foes. Although many of these damage spells are based on Red Mana, they have a wide variety of them for use in different situations.

Wizards keep a good mix of different spells, based largely on Red and Yellow Mana. They can just as easily cast damage spells like Fireballs, as they can cast powerful defensive spells like Wall of Fire.

Classes aren’t all that make up the strategy of this game. As you know this is a puzzle game. With a battle style based off of Bejeweled, which is a classic game of gems on a board that you can swap two adjacent ones to form a line of 3 or more matching colors, the action begins. There is a twist in this version though; these colors represent Mana. Just like every classic RPG we have the four main elements of: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. As you match these gems up, you will gain the Mana to use in casting spells in battle.

Along with the Mana gems are coins, skulls and purple stars. Coins of course are for money, skulls for damaging your opponent and the stars are to gain extra experience points. Even if you lose the battle, you will still keep the coin and EXP that you earned in the match. If you win the battle that amount increases. This amount can also vary based on the skills you have.

Within the games storyline, there are many side quests. This is something I truly enjoyed because it took you to more places and gave you advantages when it came to forging weapons. As you progress in the game, people will ask for your assistance with various tasks. You can gain additional coin and EXP by completing these quests. On top of that, you will also be able to take control of the map.

When you build up enough money, you will start to develop your city. There are many aspects to running your land. You will need a Dungeon, Mage Tower, Stable, Forge Shop, Siege Workshop, Temple, and Towers. Each of these adds to the abilities you will have in the game. All of this is developed through the Citadel when you are in a city you control.

Taking over a city is much like any other battle in the game. You go up against the city, which normally has more life points then other opponents. Once they have fallen to your power, they will have to pay you a monthly tribute. You collect this by simply waking to the town. Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE money in games. I found myself just wondering the map gaining loads of cash. Power house Rhyme, taking all the gold from the poor.

You can also see that you will be buying a forge shop and a stable. If you have battled a foe 3 times or more, you will gain the opinion to capture them. Capturing is done a bit differently then a normal battle; instead of doing the face off, you will be given a puzzle with a set amount of pieces. Your objective is to clear the board of all gems. Not to worry though, you can do this as many times as you need to. Once captured you can learn the skills of the enemy by doing spell research. This requires yet another puzzle in which you have to get the set amount of each gem.

Forging items requires you to capture ruins. These are basically caves scattered through out the land. Each ruin has a guardian. Guardians are foes who tend to be a bit harder then the average battle in the game. Often times they have addition spells or attack power. I’d have to say these are the most annoying out of any opponent you’ll face in this game.

As you can see, there is a LOT to the game play. I haven’t even described everything this game has to offer. Sadly because of the lack of wifi there isn't much to do after you have finished the game. However, there is so much involved, but I didn’t really get into the game until I got the xbox arcade version of it. Playing online with friends was just so amazing. Especially since there are handicaps for those that might be of a high level.

GRAPHICS:

This game isn’t about the graphics at all! It’s all about the strategy and game play, yet they didn’t hold back. The characters are all very much detailed. Bounteous in beauty would be the world map, which shows the mountainous regions and the rivers. Everything is well laid out.

Conversations take place in towns or while out and about, normally it’s just a dialog between two individuals on a set background. There is no real animation going on and nothing too exciting. Yet there are details that can be seen in each background, which is a nice touch. Overall, it’s nothing to write home about. I basically felt like I was playing a simple game with more involvement on my part. Kind of like a Dungeon and Dragons sort of thing, but with visuals.

MUSIC:

Here is where the game takes a plunge. Music is lacking big time and although it can be quite dramatic at times, it is far to repetitive. Especially the victory song, which in all cases it plays right into the next match. I found this to be very annoying.

With the lack of sound effects, you can tell this game fell short on design. You do get the bangs in during battle, but nothing to get excited over. If they played it up more, this could have been a very enticing sound track. However, it’s not one you would want to hear more then you have to. In fact, just turn the sound off and play your own music.

MULTIPLAYER:

You can battle your hero against a friend’s hero in Multiplayer using the DS’s wireless capabilities. In order to do this, one player needs to create a game while the other player should join in. Each player requires his or her own Game Card to play, so there is no download for this game.

The rules for multiplayer battle are identical to those of a regular battle with the winner being determined by which hero reduces their opponent’s life points to zero first. As mentioned earlier, this is another disappointment to the game because it requires to be in the same room with your opponent. Therefore, there is no over the internet wifi play in this game.

FINAL NOTES:

When I first played this game on the DS, I was so addicted to it. I have to say I’ve found the same love for the game with the xbox arcade version. Not only do you have everything mentioned in this review, but you get an additional 4 classes with an add-on that you can buy. This also includes more quests, weapons, items, and enemies. I will say you have to be a lover of puzzle and strategy to get anything out of this game. Most people I’ve talked to have gotten bored fast. However, my online buddy and I just love this game and are looking forward to the next installment, which I now have actually.

How Shulk Rates This Game...

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