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Xmas Puzzle - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Xmas Puzzle

WiiWare | EnjoyUp Games | 1-4 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
Related Game: Pinocchio's Puzzle
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27th January 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

For all intents and purposes, Xmas Puzzle can be seen as a copy and paste job, with EnjoyUp taking their original title, Pinocchio's Puzzle, and tailoring it for the holiday season. Once again, the question of whether or not families should spend money on this does arise, but ultimately, the changes they've made to this second version actually make the first title slightly more attractive.

    Right off the bat, Xmas Puzzle contains less content than what was featured in Pinocchio's Puzzle, with only 12 puzzles to complete instead of 15. Aside from the obvious holiday characters, each puzzle presents background illustrations of teddy bears, dogs, and young kids. When it comes to changes in the presentation, I found most of the illustrations didn't look as nice as the ones seen in the first game. Sure there were a few that were good-looking in appearance, but on the whole, these felt like they came out of an inexpensive activity book for children. Another change in presentation comes in the form of a slight switch in music, but in general it's not as soothing and the repetition is still there.

    Instead of having the puzzles tell a story through the visuals and supplementary text, Xmas Puzzle uses slightly personal messages of well wishes to connect with the player. These include hoping the player obtains a lot of presents, has a good holiday, etc. Even for a game that's principally aimed at kids, I found these to be very cheesy. Plus, there were some errors in the text, including "Happy holydays" [sic] and "Happy Merry Christmas".

Just like before, you can somewhat tell there was a bit of thought that went into the different cuts of the puzzle pieces. But at the same time, it felt like the development team didn't think things through in some areas. With the very first puzzle, for example, 50% of the pieces were just of a blue sky! This is something that happens again in one of the later puzzles with a snowy background taking up about 30% of the pieces. This sort of approach leads to much trial and error, and although I personally didn't struggle with this particular puzzle, the point is that making puzzles less accessible for kids to complete isn't a good thing.

    Compared to the first title, I found Xmas Puzzle to be easier, partly because the colours used in the reference points are more easily identifiable. That's not necessarily a good thing though, because with only 12 puzzles to complete, you'll be finished with the game in a faster amount of time. But then again, you'll be sparing yourself of the potential frustration that existed in the other game. Additionally, in taking on this holiday theme, the appeal of the release is more limited. I found that there wasn't as much consistency to tie all the puzzles together as there was before, making the first title's stronger storybook theme seem more enticing.

    While I kind of liked Pinocchio's Puzzle and could see some people buying it, Xmas Puzzle is less appealing by comparison. If you're going to get one of these titles for your kids, definitely go with the former since it's better in just about every way.

17/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Same game with a different theme, no longer about storytelling, still some concern over the reference points and background pieces
Presentation 6/10 - Some nice-looking illustrations, typographical and grammatical errors in the text, images used aren't as consistent
Enjoyment 3/5 - Easier to get through the game, less frustration to be had, cheesy text kind of takes away some fun, limited appeal
Extra Content 1/5 - Same additional features as before that don't extend gameplay, reduced number of puzzles means the game won't last as long

Equivalent to a score of 57% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Xmas Puzzle
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