The advent of Trash Panic has raised our expectations of what a puzzle game should be like, and while Numblast is a decent brain-teaser with room to develop tactics, it offers nothing new to help maintain our interest. Games like Numblast have been haunting the fringes of PlayStation since way back when the first little grey box of tricks appeared, and this new addition to the puzzle genre is no different than the countless tile-busting puzzlers you will have played many times before.
The basic aim is to clear tiles from the board by aligning the same numbers together in blocks of 4x4 patterns. Once you get one, the number on the tile ticks up from one to four, and any two tiles with the same number that touch your initial four as they tick up will explode. In theory, you can clear the whole board in one go if you pre-set all the tiles to explode in sequence. That idea alone has probably got some idle minds twitching, but the game is a far more studied and laborious experience in practise.
There are more subtle additions to the gameplay: igniting long combos will award you with a Special tile, that will explode every similar number on the board when connected into a 4x4 block, so you could clear all the ‘4’ tiles in one go.
The main problem with Numblast is there’s just not enough to get your teeth into. With only three game modes – Time Trial, Puzzle and Endless – we soon felt like we were going over the same ground only with slightly different rules. There’s no two-player or Challenge mode and no extensive shifts in gear. The game plays at one pace and rarely forces you to think very hard about any of the choices you’ll have to make in order to succeed. A two player mode would have been ideal.
Numblast is a very simple puzzle game; it’s nice enough, but with Trash Panic already on the PSN Store, this needed to do something radically new to drag us away. Which it didn’t.
Jun 18, 2009