# of Players: 1
N Amer - 06/15/2007
Brain Buster Puzzle Pak Review
The Nintendo DS pretty much has the market cornered on puzzle games, and for good reason. The mobile gaming rig has always supplied players with on-the-go games of the puzzle variety going all the way back to Tetris on the original GameBoy. But in this current era of heavy-hitter units, the DS has been pumping out far more puzzle titles than the PSP. Is it because the touch screen is a natural fit for puzzle games? Is it because the two screens add more depth to a puzzle game, or maybe the cartridge design is the reason. Heck, for all we know it's because the DS has been outselling the PSP 1078 to one (an embellishment, but trust me Sony wishes it had sold as many PSPs as the DS has). Either way, we love puzzle games in the David household and my wife fancies herself as the queen bee when it comes to puzzle games. She will knock me down and snatch any puzzle game out of my hand, ensuring she gets the first crack at it and therefore remaining "queen of the hill."
Brain Buster is more of the same when it comes to the Soduku portion of the title, there are plenty of Sodoku titles out there and wading through the sea of them and all their variations can be a puzzle unto itself. Fortunately, Brain Buster manages to throw a curve at the gaming public; no, it's not the fact that there are four additional puzzle games to go along with Soduku, it is that the four other puzzles are games that you won't mind playing. Not that I am saying they are all winners, but for you true puzzle gamers out there, you would be hard pressed to not get some entertainment out of at least two of the four games. Which two? Well, strangely enough, that depends on you, it's not that two of them are so much more well done then the others, but rather it's a matter of your puzzle game interest. Which is why this game ranks higher then your average puzzler.
"One! Five! Forty-three! Hut, hut, Hike! Oops, wrong game."
I will assume that you know what I am talking about when I say the word, Soduku, say it with me... Sew, Dough Koo, just rolls off your tongue, doesn't it? Ok, no really, Soduku is as popular a game going right now, do I won't talk about it other then the game does an ample job of making use of the touch screen and stylus, the numbers are bright and easily read, it is a decent version of the game. But the other four games are what I think we will focus on. The four games are called; Slitherlink, Nurikabe, Light On and Kakuro.
In Slitherlink, there is a game board with numbers placed around it at random and there are dots in each corner of the number (think of it as a grid without the lines). The object is to make a continuous line throughout the puzzle by connecting the dots around the numbers on the grid. The trick though, is that you must match the number of sides on a around a number, with that number. So if the number three is on the grid, then you must fill in three sides of that particular grid piece. What's worse, is that there may be the number one right next to the three, sharing a line. If it sounds crazy then you get the idea.
In Light Up, you place light bulbs on the game board following stringent rules like all white spots must be illuminated, but there are rules off to the side that indicate if a bulb has additional bulbs next to it (a big no, no). The idea is to completely illuminate the grid, but place the proper amount of bulbs next to the grid blocks that have numbers in them. So if a grid block has 4 in it, then all four sides must have a bulb placed next to it. A creative and original game.
"Warning, playing Brain Buster may lead to lack of sleep and probably a headache."
Kakuro is probably the closest to Soduku in the sense that you must add up numbers (1-9) in order to equal an amount on the edge of the line. Of course you cannot use a number twice within its vertical or horizontal line. The kick is that the grid shape is usually a strange shape rather then a perfect square. It's a tricky little gem that will probably get some mileage out of it's Soduku roots.
Nurikabe was probably the least appealing game to me as it has you filling in the squares in a grid from white to black. Scattered around the grid are numbered squares, these numbers represent the number of white spaces you must not fill in, including the numbered square itself. So if a three is on the grid, you wouldn't fill it and two squares next to it so that three white squares remain. The other problem is that all of the black parts of the grid must connect up to form a cohesive color flow (if you will). It's not a bad game mind you, just not really my cup of tea.
All five games play well and react nicely to the stylus, good thing too, since the entire game is stylus only controlled. There isn't much eye candy to be had here, some meteorites fly by and there are some cute-ish friendly graphics that pop up, but the game doesn't need to be graphic heavy. This is one of those titles that could even work on a black and white screen. SO I can't dig on them too badly for only having adequate yet clean graphics, since that is all that is required.
The sound effects do get long in the tooth after a while and again, I found myself listening to music and turning the game down. It's Ok though, the music and sound effects do nothing to move the game forward, merely filler that is easily replaced by whatever song was playing in my iPod at the time.
Review Scoring Details for Brain Buster Puzzle Pak
A stylus only title that is incredibly easy to control. A puzzle player couldn't ask for a more intuitive game. The various games all present their own set of unique challenges.
It's not fair to score this game badly, because the game doesn't require complicated graphics. A six is a great score for a puzzle game of this nature.
I listened to the music and it really does nothing for the game. It was an upbeat score that only a small percentage of the population will be able to resist its craze-inducing effects. I turned it off.
My wife tore through this title in two days, she is a master; I have not spent quite as much time with it as her (and probably won't) but the puzzles can get pretty tricky as the difficulty ramps up. There are a lot of puzzles to beat.
It is a decent Soduku game blessed with equally decent companion games. In the sea of titles out there, you could swim to this one and be quite happy.
Again, a solid title and a puzzle-player must, I think the variations of the puzzles and the running score you can rack up is a good way to have some healthy competition with other members of the household. A point value is given after every completed puzzle and added to your overall score. I must admit, I have played this title more than I thought I would and I like action games more then anything, go figure.
Proof that if you wrap a popular puzzle game with four other unknown games, you can have a decent title
Reviewer: Mike David
Review Date: 07/16/2007