Puzzle Dimension ReviewEdward Cheng
Rolling a ball for hours on end hasn't been this fun since Katamari.
Developed by a Swedish company called Doctor Entertainment AB, Puzzle Dimension is a 3D puzzle game which manages to put a creative twist on an existing concept. For many older generation gamers, the first thing that you may notice is its similarity to an older game, Kula World (Roll Away in the US). This shouldn't be too much of a surprise as one of the heads of Doctor Entertainment, Jesper Rudberg, worked on that game under a different company. In that sense, Puzzle Dimension is a spiritual successor of sorts to Kula World albeit simpler. For any newcomers, don't worry, you don't need to know the history to enjoy the game.
You as the player take the role of a golden ball that rolls around and collects flowers. No story, no drama, you are just a metallic sphere solely dedicated to un-pixelating the ground around you and rolling up flowers. You can roll and jump in any of the four directions on the blocks you are on. Gravity plays an important role here based on your orientation on a block. Many times you'll be falling over the edge of one block so that you can land on another.
Beside the regular kind, there are multiple types of blocks you can encounter in the game: single use blocks, which either set on fire or crumble when used once, ice blocks, which only allow you to move in one direction based on your previous momentum, button blocks, which make certain blocks disappear or become unusable, and sand blocks, which only allow you to jump and not move and a few more. A mix and mix of these are what you will encounter in the game and make up the difficulty that Puzzle Dimensions is known for.
The game has over 100 levels set up in 10 clusters based on what type of puzzles and features they mainly consist of. For instance, Hidden Blocks uses a lot of invisible blocks whereas Bends features levels that have the blocks in curved shapes. Each individual level is unique and difficult in its own special way. Collecting a certain amount of flowers will unlock the next cluster, giving you the option to skip levels and move on to the next stage. To the naked eye, the puzzles appear simple, easily completed within a few minutes, but, after a few restart screens, this game will quickly correct that misconception.
Each level requires that you carefully consider the blocks that are around you and the path you take to get from one point to the next; as you progress further, the difficulty increases by just a little, giving less room for even a single error. Make a mistake, and you may end up in a spot where you can no longer move or without the crucial block necessary to get to the exit. You can either think it out or try all of your options but either way, you're more likely than not to see the restart screen multiple times before you get it right. It can at times get tiresome, but will encourage most gamers to be patient and try again rather than throw the controller through the television in frustration.
Puzzle Dimension looks great with its clean and crisp appearance without overdoing it. There are four themes which the player can choose from ranging from jungle green with crate blocks to ocean depths with an underwater view and schools of fishes. Music at the beginning of each level is 8-bit but slowly gets more complex as you proceed.
Problems with the game are few and in between. The controller feels too sensitive at times, and the camera orientation is awkward in closed spaces and certain angles. I've had more than one occasion where I was just at the finish line and accidentally rolled over the wrong side and failed because I couldn't see what was coming next or pushed a little in the wrong direction. The soundtrack does skip every now and then and gets irritating when you're forced to play the level over and over, but it's not enough to mire the experience as a whole.
For the price of $10, Puzzle Dimension is a great bargain. Its good clean fun that's addicting yet rewarding and is sure to be a fan favorite for years to come.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.