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Review: Puzzle Dimension

Posted by on July 18th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Tags:

‘Puzzle Dimension’ is a title as descriptive as ‘The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character’. It’s a puzzle game that messes with your brain in many, many ways. I recommend diving right into this one in order to feel the full effect of its mind-numbing ingenuity. You play as a sphere, and the point of the game is to roll around a level of platforms collecting the set number of sunflowers for that level. There are 10 levels per cluster, and the game contains 10 clusters. Clusters are unlocked by collecting flowers. Each new cluster introduces a different block type or movement mechanic. The clusters also retain the blocktypes from the beginning of the game, so there are a lot of interesting relationships that arise later on. The game flaunts an overall pixelated aesthetic with chiptune music tracks and 8-bit flowers/platforms. It’s your job to roll around unpixelating the world. Think 3D Dot Game Heroes meets Marble Madness meets Cuboid. The game starts off simple enough, and you can tell there’s something neat here, but once the levels start folding onto themselves (about 8 puzzles in) you realize that Puzzle Dimension contains something crazy within its clutches. It’s going to get crazier, isn’t it? Yes. Yes it is.

One of Puzzle Dimensions main quirks is that when you move onto a platform that’s slightly tilted, the entire puzzle rotates with you. Gravity still pulls you down, but ‘down’ is a direction that changes according to what platform you’re stuck on at any given moment. The first cluster deals with breakaway blocks that can only be rolled onto once. Next, strips of ice start populating the puzzles. On regular blocks, if you press the up button, you move up to the next block. You can’t sit on an icy platform, though; it ushers you forth in whatever direction you approached it from. Fire grates, teleporters, and, my favorite, invisible platforms start popping up in due time. As I mentioned, the later puzzles contain some or all of the block-types from previous puzzles, so by the time you make it to the fourth or fifth cluster, you’ll likely be scratching your head for a while before completing levels. Luckily, a few buttons on the controller will aid you in looking around a puzzle. R2 raises the camera above your sphere pointing down, making it easier to see what platforms you can fall onto. L2 does the opposite, and the triangle button pulls the camera out significantly and allows you to zoom in, out, and around the puzzle as you see fit. It would be nice if you could play while viewing the puzzle in this way, but alas, you have to press triangle to zoom back in before you’re able to roll around again.

The music in the game is comprised of chiptune tracks that change according to what cluster you’re playing in. The musical loops aren’t too long, but they entertain enough. However, my main problem with the entire game is that the music skips every 10 seconds or so. It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if the game supported custom soundtracks, but the fact that I’m forced to listen to buggy music while playing is slightly torturous. The music even skipped when waiting at the title screen, meaning it’s not a saving/loading issue. Speaking of loading, though, the initial loading time to start a cluster is lengthy.

Puzzle Dimension is a fantastic game. It takes a relatively simple movement mechanic and rolls with it until you have no choice but to be impressed with its intricate yet tangible level design. It succeeds in sidling that line between difficulty and infuriatingly frustrating. What I mean is Puzzle Dimension will challenge you to think up sometimes unlikely solutions to tough puzzles. The learning curve is just steep enough to encourage that ‘one more puzzle’ mentality while also leaving you with a sense of accomplishment and pride in toppling a particularly devious puzzle. The lack of custom soundtrack support is emphasized by the fact that the game’s on-board music skips at random. If it weren’t for this solitary problem, I would’ve scored the game a 5/5. In short, it plays like a dream, but sounds like it has trouble sleeping.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Skipping music tracks; no custom soundtrack support