Capcom Puzzle World PSP
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Capcom Puzzle World is a compilation of five puzzle games. Buster Bros., Super Buster Bros., Buster Buddies, Block Block and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo are the games that have been included in this compilation. In many ways it's a lopsided compilation with one title in particular being absolutely first class whilst the other four are comprised of three mediocre games at best and one that is poor. Fortunately many will pick up this budget priced collection simply for the excellent game, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and if you're a fan of the game then Capcom Puzzle World is worth every penny.
Before we look at the impressive Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, let's look at the other four games that make up this collection. Buster Bros. is a very simple game where you have to move a character across the bottom of the screen and burst the falling and bouncing balloons with your harpoon-like weapon that can only be fired upward in a straight line. The challenge comes from the fact that bursting a balloon will cause it to divide into smaller balloons and bursting these smaller balloons will also cause these to divide into smaller balloons. Eventually the smallest balloons will simply pop. The problem is however, that should the character you are controlling make contact with any of the balloons, he will lose a life. Matters are further complicated in later levels with multiple balloons and obstacles that cause the balloons to bounce in a more unnatural fashion. As you pop certain balloons you'll acquire various power-ups that give you a temporary advantage. Super Buster Bros. is essentially the same game except that you have a choice of playing either a non-stop Panic mode or a Tour mode which tasks you with travelling around the world in 40 levels. Buster Buddies is again pretty much the same thing. You'll have a choice of taking on ten beginner levels, playing the normal levels to collect the art treasures (completing a set number of levels will earn you an art treasure) and playing the Panic mode. You also get to choose one of four characters to control and there are additional power-ups.
Block Block is essentially an Arkanoid variant and requires you to move a paddle across the bottom of the screen and rebound the falling ball back into the coloured blocks in order to destroy them until you've eventually removed all of the blocks. It's easily the worst game in the compilation, not because it's a bad game (in fact I really like these Arkanoid type games), but because there has been no attempt to make the game feel suited to the PSP controls. The game doesn't fill the screen and takes up a small amount of space in the centre. The controls which move the paddle just aren't good enough. The directional buttons are far too imprecise and the analogue stick is even worse. Essentially this means you'll run out of patience with the game after only a few plays as you'll never feel like you have complete control over the paddle's movement.
Let's move onto the main game in this collection, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. The game is essentially a Tetris variant albeit with a more competitive nature. Pairs of coloured gems fall into the play area and whilst they fall you can rotate them until they fall to the bottom of the play area. How you get rid of the gems in the play area depends on the game style you are playing. Super Puzzle Fighter II: X requires you connect a Crash Gem (which is round instead of square like the other gems) to gems of the same colour. This then removes all adjacent gems of the same colour. Power Gems can also be formed by clumping gems of the same colour together. A Diamond Gem will also appear and this will eliminate all the gems of the particular colour that it lands on. What makes the game so interesting is that it's highly competitive and if you're not playing against a human opponent you'll be playing against the AI. Clearing gems will cause counter gems to land on your opponents play area. These Counter Gems will do a short countdown before they turn into normal gems. Before the countdown is complete, they can't be got rid of in the usual manner. When you remove gems that consist of a Power Gem you'll heap more counter gems on your opponent. The game is over when one of the play areas is filled with gems. Whilst the game is being played there are two 'super deformed' (essentially chubby caricatures) characters battling it out in the middle of the screen. These attacks usually follow the flow of the puzzle battle.
As well as the Super Puzzle Fighter II: X game style, the game also offers two other variants. The Super Puzzle Fighter II: Y game style sees you having to connect three or more gems of the same colour (either in a straight or diagonal line) in order to remove them. Super Puzzle Fighter II: Z game style is similar to the X game style only the gems don't fall from the top of the play area and instead are pushed up from the bottom. You have to rotate the gems in blocks of four and the gems are once again removed by connecting a Crash Gem to gems of the same colour and Power Gems can also be created. The game provides an Arcade Mode, Versus Mode, Training Mode, a Counter Gem Edit mode, a Training Demo and a Show Time Demo.
Graphically the games are a bit of a mixed bag. Only Block Block doesn't take advantage of the PSP's widescreen display. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo takes full advantage of the screen and appears to be more spread out than the original version, and all the better for it. The Buster Bros. games feel much more stretched out than should be although it's not much of a problem. The games do support Ad Hoc wireless play (no Infrastructure play is supported however) and you can transfer high score data between players. The game even gives you the ability to take screenshots which can then be used as wallpapers for your PSP. None of the games are problematic for deaf gamers and the dialogue that takes place after a fight in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is in text only.
Had such a cracking version of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo not been included in this compilation, it would have been easy to have dismissed the collection as a waste of time and money. However, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo by itself makes this worth the asking price of £19.99 (usually £14.99 from most online stores). The quality of other games in the collection is a little suspect to be honest and it's fair to say that most won't be too fussed about them. Had Block Block been done better and offered better controls it might have been worth playing but the PSP directional buttons and analogue stick just don't provide good enough control. If you want to own one of the best versions of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo to date then Capcom Puzzle World is highly recommended. If you're not fussed about Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo then it's far more difficult to recommend.
It says a lot for how good Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is that many will manage to look past the poor Block Block and mediocre Buster Bros. games and see Capcom Puzzle World as being a recommended purchase. For those who enjoy the game, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo by itself easily justifies the price tag of this collection.