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Puzzle Link 2
  opened by paleface at 00:49:56 02/17/04  
  last modified by paleface at 03:07:47 02/22/04  
  paleface [sys=NGPC; cat=Puzzle; loc=NA]
It's an odd thing. Puzzle Link 2 seems to have all the ingredients necessary to give birth to a puzzle-gaming craze: combo block action, hip art style, cutesy creatures, card collecting and a wide variety of game modes, most of which involve connecting separate clumps of blocks in a slowly-descending block conglomerate. Yes, it's all here, but the game isn't.
Maybe it's just me. But I swear, I find most block-dropping (or launching, as in this case) games somewhat charming, if unoriginal. This game, on the other hand, is unusually original with the block CONNECTING thing--you don't drop blocks yourself, you just connect existing blocks, then they vanish and others on top of them (well, below; it's reversed for some reason) fall (rise) and can combo with blocks of the same color if they land on them. Combos in fact are pretty easy to chain together. And you've got cute little squishy animal-like critters and so forth.
But it just doesn't work for me. Maybe it's the grating music and alarm sound effect. Maybe the art style is just a little too cutting-edge to feel comfortable and comes off as cold and pretentious. Maybe it's because the card-collecting thing seems really tacked-on and pointless (although apparently there's a card mini-game where you play decks of cards against each other in some fashion--I've never collected enough cards to find out).
Or maybe, just maybe, it's because the basic block-connecting action itself has no zip. No zing. You're just drawing lines between things, then other things happen sort of on their own. There's no bounce to the action: stuff just appears or disappears without doing anything neat-looking, or making a pleasant sound. What really gets me is that there's no seeming rhythm to the rate at which the mass of blocks drops toward your little ship thingy--it just sort of drops all at once every NOW and ... wait... THEN. Sometimes it startsdroppingalotofrows for no apparent reason, then stops just as mysteriously.
And I'll go back to the style thing. There's no personality here. Not that a puzzle game needs an engaging character to be fun, but there's no character in the basic interaction of clicking buttons and moving the lines. It's all very cold. It's like a zombie of a game, the shuffling corpse of a design that died somewhere along the way. The horror, the horror.

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