Puzzle Dimension Review

July 10, 2010 | 10:19

Tags: #puzzle

Companies: #doctor-entertainment #indie #steam

Puzzle Dimension Conclusions

As with most puzzle games, Puzzle Dimension requires a degree of trial and error, but it never takes things to a frustrating extreme. It’s biggest strength is that the puzzles are always approachable and fair, even though simple things such as gravity are often twisted beyond their usual parameters.

Often you can work backwards from the end portal too, working out where you need to end up after grabbing the last flower. We regularly spent more time in camera mode mentally planning our route through the level than rolling around and trying things out. This makes completion of the more difficult levels all the more satisfying.

That said, Puzzle Dimension isn’t going to be for everyone and it does require a great deal of patience and forethought. If you try rushing in and solving things quickly then you’ll often be met with failure and the game will become a chore.

Of course, once you’ve mastered a level once then it’s a different story altogether. Puzzle Dimension ties in to many of Valve’s Steamworks systems and there’s a high score table which factors time in to your score, along with a few other factors. The simplicity of the gameplay and control scheme means it's easy to become obsessive over scores and try to find the perfect way to race around each level.

Puzzle Dimension Review Puzzle Dimension Conclusions
That's my ball

The combo system is an especially interesting anomaly, one which encourages you to wander through levels as much as possible. Blocks are pixellated throughout each levels, slightly obscuring the overall appearance without hiding the actual content. When you get close to a pixellated block then the blurriness comes away and your combo score is increased. Thus, an interesting dynamic is formed where you want to move as quickly as you can, but also need to take a meandering path over as many blocks as possible to boost your score.

The theme of pixels and blocks runs strong in Puzzle Dimension, and developer Doctor Entertainment is clearly a fan of all things retro. The squares, angles, and quad-directional movement all contribute to the game’s classic arcade feel. Despite this, the graphics are very much up-to-date, with bright colours, sharp edges and adequate support for hi-res monitors.

Looking at the same blocks 100 times would bore anyone though, however differently they may be arranged or how pretty they look. Going some way to remedy this, Doctor Entertainment have provided a handful of unlockable visual themes, based on your flower count, that can be selected at the main menu. They don’t change the gameplay at all, but they look good and serve to keep things looking fresh and varied.

Continuing the retro theme, the soundtrack consists of a pleasant selection of catchy 8-bit style music. The audio is also dynamic, changing as you play and progress through a level, which aids in immersing you in the environment. It also means you don’t get stuck with the same loop of beep-boops stuck in your head all day.

Puzzle Dimension Review Puzzle Dimension Conclusions
Clearing levels nets you a higher combo score

Puzzle Dimension is the very definition of a puzzle game. Collecting flowers to open a portal makes complete sense in Doctor Entertainment's world, as it's essentially the only sense there is. With no pretence of a story, the developers have enabled themselves to focus almost entirely on the gameplay, which are familiar but work really well. It's a beautifully simple concept that has been executed with precision and expertise, if not originality.

Puzzle Dimension Review Puzzle Dimension ConclusionsSupport for Steam Achivements will lend the game a degree of replayability for some, while the leaderboards will quickly become an obsession for others, just like those from Super Stardust and Trials have done in the console world. It’s other major appeal is how accessible it is – you can literally jump in and start playing within a few moments.

If you enjoy puzzle games, you can't really go wrong with Puzzle Dimension, as that's exactly what it is. Then again, none of the features are strikingly innovative and there are plenty of other games like this out there. Looked at that way, there’s nothing which really gives Puzzle Dimension any real edge over the competition.

Still, at little over a fiver, there's more than enough gameplay on offer in the 100 puzzles to justify the price, especially for those competitive types among you.

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