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NEVES Plus - WiiWare Review

Game Info

WiiWare | Akinai Games / YUKE'S | 1-4 Players (local multiplayer/co-operative play) | Out Now | 600 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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6th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Last year, Akinai Games released NEVES Plus on WiiWare, an updated version to NEVES for the DS. No matter how the game seemed to some, the fact remains that the game was widely overlooked, which is rather unfortunate. If you passed off the game when it first released, hopefully this review will stir your interest in it. Really, when it comes down to it, NEVES Plus is one of the most content-heavy puzzle games on the service to date.

    At it's roots, NEVES Plus is a tangram-based game where players fill a silhouette puzzle using shapes. To re-create the outline using the shapes provided may prove harder than you might realize. Most of them won't be at the right angle as soon as you pick them up, so players have to rotate them manually. Using the left and right buttons on the D-Pad, players can rotate a shape to a desired angle before trying to put it into place. Additionally, the up and down buttons can be used to reverse the shape completely. Just because a shape fits into the silhouette doesn't necessarily mean that it belongs there in the final solution. Needless to say, it really gets you thinking about how each shape interacts with one another to form a solid object or figure. You'd be surprised with what you can make with only seven pieces to work with. 

 The developers have managed to tailor the experience well to almost all audiences in terms of difficulty. Sure there are some easy puzzles, but there's also a good number of complex puzzles that require a surprising amount of thinking as you figure out how the seven pieces fit into place. In spite of this, never does the game ever become frustrating. Even if players are having trouble with a specific puzzle, the game features up to 4 player drop-in co-op! Players can always opt to ask for help from people in the same room who may be able to visualize the solution better. This feature alone makes the game a great social experience for families and friends who love puzzle games.

The game offers a wealth of modes to players that add a sense of variety to the gameplay. There's the standard Puzzle mode, where one player (or more) tries to clear a series of rooms, each containing dozens of puzzles. 2 to 4 players can participate in a VS Mode (either in singles or in teams), aiming to be the first one to complete a selection of puzzles. In Speed, most of the silhouette has already been filled in, so you'll only have to figure out where the remaining piece or pieces go. Just like in VS, players can play competitively against one another, earning the win by being the first one to clear the last puzzle. Party Trivia presents a series of slightly-concealed silhouettes one after the other, and your job is to figure out what the shape is, using the 4 choices provided. It's an interesting take on the traditional gameplay and it can be fun to play once in a while. Finally, Lucky Number adds a bit more challenge where each piece has a move limit to it. Players try to clear puzzles without running out of moves. Given what's just been considered, it's pretty clear that a lot of work went into making NEVES Plus a success and offering multiple gameplay modes only makes the experience more enjoyable!

The entire game has an Egyptian-style focus to it and although this may not make total sense in a puzzle game, it's certainly a unique approach that works really well. NEVES Plus features a total of 10 characters that appear from time to time during gameplay at the sides of the screen, making the game a bit more engaging. In continuing with this running theme, even the game's music is full of middle-eastern and desert-like elements. Some tracks can get annoying after hearing them over and over again, so it's recommended that you set BGM on Random in the Options Menu. On the other hand, some of the other tracks are actually quite catchy and it's great to see that the game contains a good number of audio tracks to scroll through. Menu selection is also really well organized as is the visual presence of the drop-in co-op during gameplay at the top of the screen. Even if the game's widescreen support isn't as strong (featuring banners at the side like in Wario Land: Shake It), presentation is simply excellent. Really, the amount of work that went into this project almost makes it feel like a retail release! 

There's no denying that the game contains loads of content to offer, either when you're playing by yourself or with a group. NEVES Plus has a staggering total of over 500 puzzles, with a good number of gameplay modes that even offer an impressive amount of replay value for solo players. Almost all modes feature leaderboards of some kind, not to mention a medal system that awards you for fast solutions. Both of these give players something to strive for and thanks to the fun competitive and co-operative multiplayer, there's also a lot to come back to. I think almost anyone would agree that 600 points is a steal for the amount of content the game provides!

    There's more that could be said about how strong of a purchase NEVES Plus is, but really, you owe it to yourself to give the game a shot. Although some may have overlooked it upon release, the game will last you weeks, even months! With so much content for such a reasonable price, NEVES Plus is, without a doubt, one of the strongest puzzle games released on WiiWare yet!

27/30 - Excellent

Gameplay 9/10 - Captivating gameplay that rarely feels like a bore, easy to jump into, tons of tangram puzzles
Presentation 8/10 - Surprisingly strong visuals that complement the style of the game nicely, some catchy/annoying tunes
Enjoyment 5/5 - Manages to be addicting even when playing by yourself, fun competitive and co-operative multiplayer options
Extra Content 5/5 - Many modes to choose from, gold medals to strive for on every puzzle, loads of content for 600 points

Equivalent to a score of 90% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

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