Thursday, 9 February 2017

Kuru Kuru Panic (Playstation)

It's yet another colour-matching competitive puzzle game! This time, it's on the Playstation, rather than arcades, and it seems to have been made by a very small team, who proudly put all their names on a screen preceding the title screen, which sounds like it would be annoying, but it actually gives the game a feel of being the product of a ragtag bunch of enthusiasts. According to GameFAQs, they only did two other games, one of which was part of the Atelier series, and the other is the Dreamcast version of that visual novel thing starring Samurai Shodown's Nakoruru. Which is a bit sad really, isn't it?

Anyway, the main gimmick this game uses to stand out from the crowd is that rather than rectangular pits, you have coloured blobs falling towards the centre of large wheels? Though it might not be obvious at first, the effect this has isn't just aesthetic, but also has a few effects on gameplay. The first is that the wheels mean that unlike most games, your playing area is much wider than it is tall, so while piling on the blobs in one place will kill you quicker, you have more places in which to drop them. There's also the fact that you move the wheel itself round, rather than moving the blobs round it, which takes some getting used to at first, and allows the game to do another thing: set up blobs to fall in at different locations at the same time (or at least, in very quick succession).

The fact that you're almost constantly bombarded with blobs to place, and that you have such a wide area in which to place them makes Kuru Kuru Panic a fair bit more stressful than other puzzle games, even before it starts speeding up. It gets a little better once you realise this fact, and concentrating on just setting up little chains here and there when you can, and not getting too caught up in trying to build up one big chain. The fact is, you don't always have total control over where every blob, so you just have to do what you can to manage. Writing it like this makes the game sound like it's mostly luck-based, and not very good at all. And to be honest, I don't feel too bad saying that.

Every time I review a puzzle game, I always seem to end up talking about how it's good enough, but it has nothing to allow it to stand up to the giants of the genre. But in this case, I think it's more a case of that I desperately wanted this game to be better than it is, but it's just not. It's not a terrible game either, though: it's well-made and well-presented, but more important than all that is the fact that it's just not a very fun or interesting game to play.

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