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Pinocchio's Puzzle - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Pinocchio's Puzzle

WiiWare | EnjoyUp Games | 1-4 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
Related Game: Xmas Puzzle
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16th December 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

Jigsaw puzzles are fun family activities, so it didn't surprise me one bit to see someone make a game out of it for the WiiWare service. The first jigsaw puzzle experience I had on the Wii was in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz which featured tilt controls for piece rotations. At the time, it was a fun way to spend a few minutes. However, Pinocchio's Puzzle by EnjoyUp Games is comparatively geared towards a slightly different audience. Is this something families should consider spending money on?

    As the name of the game suggests,  Pinocchio's Puzzle follows the story of the fictional character best known for the red flag he sends whenever he tells a fib. Each portion of the tale is told by means of a jigsaw puzzle which will reveal a final picture once all the pieces have been put together. Players use the Wii Remote's pointer to control an on-screen cursor, pressing A to select a piece and B to rotate it.

    With each puzzle, you're given a square box to work in with a reference point existing in the background with a reduced opacity. When the puzzle has been cleared, the entire picture comes into full focus with colour and all and text will then appear to tell the story in one sentence. You won't find a narrator reading it off for you, but the fact that the story is told through concise sentences is definitely appropriate for the target audience. The game features very nice illustrations that are perfect for a child's picture book.

The number of puzzle pieces you're given usually ranges from about 20 to 30, so it's definitely not a full-scale puzzle by any means. But don't think for a second this means the game is a breeze to get through. The pieces you have to work with aren't all straight-forward; the cuts create some challenge which is something both parents and children alike will appreciate. But this isn't the only manifestation of challenge seen in the game.

    I was genuinely surprised over the way the game tried to expand past the boundaries they had to work with as far as the brain power of a growing child. As early as the second puzzle, I noticed an interference with the logical process of using the background image as a guide where the reference points appeared in a thick dark blue colour making it hard to see finer details and observe clues. This wasn't always the case, but I'd say it happened about seven or eight times out of ten.

    Additionally, I could easily see children feeling a tad overwhelmed with later puzzles, especially if they get frustrated easily. Because of the similarities and even obscurities of certain pieces, players may not know where to begin, and even just starting with the familiar face can be hard to identify from the rest of the pack. In Puzzle 5, the brown pieces were hard to deduce, and even the final puzzle was tough because of the wooden panels seen in the background. I realize it depends on how you look at it, but I'm betting this is more of an issue than something to challenge younger players mentally.

At the risk of frustrating players, the decision to add such a notable challenge factor makes puzzles all the more satisfying for intelligent minds to complete and it also means that there's more to get out of the game. For that reason, it really is best to play the game together as a family. Because of reasons stated above, the game will last longer than you might think. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a child or family spending around 4 hours with the game before they completely finished all the puzzles. After completing all 15 puzzles, you'll open up the "Tale" option which acts much like a slideshow where images are prefaced with the story-telling text seen before. Just a bonus to congratulate you for your efforts, I suppose.

     Pinocchio's Puzzle features three save slots, allowing multiple members of the family to play at their own pace. Options include Puzzles, Gallery and Credits, each serving a self-explanatory purpose. Progress is saved automatically, so should players get tired of playing for the day, they can return to the game and pick up where they left off. This minimizes any kind of disappointment over having to quit abruptly and lose all your progress, and it also gives kids a chance to stop playing if a puzzle is giving them a trouble, knowing they can return to it and pick up the pieces again. 

Presentation is straight-forward with very soft music being played in the background, which often includes stringed instruments. The music is kind of soothing, but since there are only two songs that play during gameplay, it can get repetitive. As for the layout on the puzzle menu, although each section of the story is sectioned off on the board as its own individual puzzle, the order in which these become available for play surprisingly doesn't have a lot of organization to it. I expected something a little more systematic. 

    For what it is, I think it's a decent game, but if you were to ask me if it's worth paying for, I honestly can't say for sure. If your son or daughter enjoys jigsaw puzzles, then they may very well enjoy the retelling of this popular fairy tale in this way. However, the notable challenge factor may drive some children to give up early, which may get you to re-consider purchasing this simple title.

19/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - No control issues, reference points can be hard to decipher, basic storytelling through text, cuts of puzzles pieces aren't always simple
Presentation 7/10 - Very nice illustrations, a narrator would have added to the experience, soothing yet repetitive music
Enjoyment 3/5 - Kids who like a good challenge will enjoy these puzzles, those who get impatient easily will get frustrated, recommended to play as a family
Extra Content 2/5 - Multiple save files, Gallery and Tale options for viewing finished pieces, will last longer than you might think, 15 puzzles in all

Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Pinocchio's Puzzle
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