Puzzle Kingdoms Review
Wii | DS
Puzzle Kingdoms box art
System: Wii, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Infinite Interactive 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Zoo Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 16, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The game also has a few other quirks and bugs that can be a real sore spot from time to time. For one, you have to pay to play each of the mini-games, and if you lose, well, you’re out of luck – literally. You also can’t exit a mini-game or battle once you’ve started it; there’s simply no way to back out other than pressing the Home button on the Wii Remote. Another oddity we experienced was random lock-ups that occurred regularly throughout the game, causing us to not only have to manually shut down the system, but also lose hours of progress in the campaign.

Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot

On the production front, Puzzle Kingdoms is a fairly bare-bones package. The visuals are plain, though they get the job done. We’d really like to see Infinite Interactive beef up their presentation a bit. They’re a development group with seemingly endless ideas for making compelling puzzle gameplay, but they also put fairly little effort into the front end. It’s difficult to complain too much about what you’ll see during combat, since the focus is on matching gems. But the story for this game could have had much more impact if we had some decent animation to accompany the gameplay.

The aural complements on offer here, however, are much more entertaining, and there’s little doubt that much of the satisfaction in matching gems comes from the feedback you receive when you align symbols and hear the cries of battle. Whenever one of your units attacks or takes damage, you’ll hear your party members wail from the Wii Remote (which works surprisingly well), and your enemies can be heard from the right side of your audio system. Gem and attack sounds are equally satisfying, and the music has a very moody, almost cinematic quality that sits perfectly in the background during skirmishes. On the downside, there’s no audio or rumble feedback coming from the Wii Remote when you initiate your attack by swiping the controller.

Puzzle Kingdoms from Zoo and Infinite Interactive is, surprisingly, another very interesting match-three puzzle game. The developer seems to have plenty of ideas for how to exploit the design, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with next. That said, this particular game has quite a few nagging issues and bugs that mire down the experience. The variety of gameplay is also a bit meager, even for a $20 budget title. The story may be lengthy, but the process remains mostly the same the whole way through. It’s still a good game to veg out to, so long as you don’t mind a few rough patches presented on a bare canvas.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

Nothing necessarily looks bad, but it’s a very basic style that would perhaps make a better fit on the WiiWare platform.
It’s pretty much a point-and-click affair, and for the most part, it works fine. Gesturing to attack is a neat idea, but without feedback from the controller, it’s an empty and unnecessary addition.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A really strong soundtrack that helps to make up for some of the shortcomings of the visual presentation. Themes segue seamlessly, and the sound effects are really satisfying.

Play Value
Though it’s only $20, it’s a package that isn’t really justified as a retail product. Tack on a host of technical and design flaws, and it’s an experience that’s somewhat disappointing.

Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Match-three puzzle and RPG gameplay.
  • Two-person, local multiplayer.
  • Lengthy single-player campaign.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge Puzzle Kingdoms screenshot - click to enlarge

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