Don’t be fooled by the quirky graphics or the bright colors. This is war. It all sounds innocent enough. You get a six by six grid and have to move the blocks until you can match five of the same color in a connecting pattern. The twist is that you’re playing against opponents (real or AI), and the colors correspond to vital resources for your war effort.
It’s a stroke of genius, because it means every move is a tactical decision. Green blocks build up your defense and blue can give you power boosts. Red is for attacks, and yellow is all about disrupting the enemy, sabotage style. Each of these resources gives you three different abilities depending on the amount you have. The lowest level of defense will let you sap the power of an opponent’s attack, but let it build to level three and you can reflect the missile back at them.
None of the abilities are passive - you have to click the mouse to use them - even defensive ones, and time them just right. And if you take too many hits you’ll have to face The Dead Puzzler’s Challenge, which gives you a single chance to resurrect yourself and get back into the game. Resting in peace is for wimps. Mode-wise there’s a timed death match, and a last man standing Battle Royale, and if you want to play without watching your back there’s Poison Peril mode. It’s less about inserting missiles into enemy orifices and more about completing challenges, such as matching up just one type of block, or creating set numbers of chains and combos.
The whole game is cracking fun, especially if you play against your mates with the six-man multiplayer, but the price you pay is constant vigilance. The pace is absolutely relentless, the enemy AI is sharp and if you’re not addicted to this after an hour then your brain is broken. Burn your to-do lists, sell your television, teach your cat how to work the can-opener. Puzzlegeddon is here, and it’s going to make you its slave.
Jan 8, 2009