Puzzler World XL
DSiWare | UFO Interactive | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
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14th December 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
With the exception of an emerging service, it's usually unheard of that there would be a shortage of word games on handheld and mobile platforms. It is often the case that these offer the most ideal conditions for on-the-go play while seated in a waiting room, monitoring something processing at a slow pace, that type of thing. As a result, with there being an exhaustive amount of options available to consumers and the maintained styles that separate one entry from the other in manufactured content, it can be a puzzle in itself just trying to figure out which of these will be most worth its while over the long-term. If your goal is to have your word-puzzle fill satisfied by traditional rather than original methods, you'll certainly find Puzzler World XL to be a hospitable solution.
The DSiWare-exclusive version of this popular series can be described as an arrayed catalogue of activities that goes about simple yet appreciated means to lock you in, while still avoiding a callous mood that can be brought on by unchanging conditions. The concern of getting bored by the fifth time you return to it will be the furthest thing from your mind as you continue to engage, for the simple fact that Puzzler World XL most certainly pulls its weight, with the surprising addiction factor serving as proof of this. Evidencing just how committed it is to being a people pleaser are the nine main puzzle types up for consideration: Wordsearch, Sudoku, Crossword, Hide & Seek, Link-A-Pix, Fitword, Backwords, Pieceword, and Silhouette. The first three should require little if any explanation, but the remaining categories are often what guard this setup from becoming a dry affair.
Hide & Seek is essentially a game of 'I Spy', giving you four visual elements to pick out from a single illustration. These don't come in the form of collages or messy scenes, but they still require more time than first appearances may indicate. I'm going to jump to Silhouette next because it is connected to a similar approach used in the activity just described. Serving a purpose similar to that of a colouring book, you're given a template for an illustration divided up by geometric shapes where any that contain a dot must be tapped to apply colour to them. Easy. If you're more of a visual person, these two activities not only give you something to brush away all the potentially headache-inducing letter placement seen in other activities, but on a more broader scale also do a good job of balancing out the focus of this package so participants who may be younger in years and may have a limited vocabulary, or those older who may not be as quick-witted when it comes to crossword riddles and such, won't feel a great deal of pressure or that Puzzler World XL isn't for them at all.
Link-A-Pix shares similar properties in approach but appealing to the more numerically-inclined. The grid features a bunch of numbers that must be connected to identical instances of the same value to gradually form a visual displayed on the left (the top screen, as per the direction to hold the system sideways). As for the others, Fitword is like doing a crossword puzzle where all the answers are provided for you and you must stick the words in the right places; Pieceword actually turns a completed crossword into a nine-piece puzzle, forcing you to use word riddles as clues to knowing which letters go together; and finally, Backwords, perhaps the hardest activity to get into, has you creating the crossword arrangement from a grid of letters by blacking out letters that don't belong. If you have trouble understanding how any of the activities work, you can head to the Instructions area on either the Pause or Main Menu and read its respective description, albeit not all of these are as clear and concise as they could be.
You may feel there's only so much you can do to sprinkle up somewhat old-fashioned vehicles of killing time, but this collection doesn't conform to the unapologetic action of functioning as a puzzle generator, using stagnant terms of plastering puzzle after puzzle without caring so much to be anything else but a posting board. Here's the thing, though: Puzzler World XL's underlying system is one that provides needed stability so players aren't quick to depart.
Completion of an activity will present you with a timed or otherwise limited bonus puzzle, during which you'll hear a tune play that aims for a game show-like level of suspense. There are nine in all -- one for each of the standard categories -- that include picking out matching pairs, solving mathematical equations, and playing a game of Hangman. If you manage to win at these as well, you'll get to spin the Prize Wheel for the chance to win Hint Coins or collect special letters that spell out P-U-Z-Z-L-E-R. It's an altogether fun system that helps push Puzzler World XL into the territory of being addicting on a level that exceeds that of a lesser collection.
Across all of these puzzle types, there are 560 puzzles in total found in Challenge Mode, but there are also more challenging sets of puzzles to be unlocked in Master Mode, over 500 bonus word searches found in the XL Bonus area, as well as trophies that mark progress. Aside from the fact that there isn't always music playing during gameplay, the presentation is sufficient, so I won't bother going into detail on that front.
Puzzler World XL delivers truly unbeatable value by offering satisfying amounts of variety for just about everyone to be content with, and is dedicated to being more than just a played-out collection of simple puzzle games. Defined by a fun system that is easy to connect with and makes familiar play enjoyable, you're pretty much set if you decide to pick this up. In fact, with concerns about lasting appeal being non-existent, you might not need to look at another collection like it again on this platform.
24/30 - Very Good
Gameplay 8/10 - A bunch of familiar word-based activities with a few unique ones, overarching system does a great job of motivating players
Presentation 7/10 - Good interface, nice use of colour, cheerful illustrations, music not always present, small improvements could still be made
Enjoyment 4/5 - Catered very well to multiple types of puzzle fans and different demographics, boredom is never an issue if you enjoy word games
Extra Content 5/5 - Wonderful variety with loads and loads of puzzles, additional modes offer even more value, trophies to aim for
Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System