by Billkwando

US Title: Puzzled
Japanese Title: Joy Joy Kid
Year: 1990
Size: 22 Megs
Home Release? Yes
MVS Release? Yes
CD Release? Yes

Well, about Puzzled (Joy Joy Kid) I'd have to say that I've heard it called primitive, and it is, but that doesn't detract from it. It looks like it could have been an old Genesis game and weighs in at a whopping (not!) 26 megs, the lowest meg count for a Neo Geo cart (that I know of). But does that affect the quality of the game? Not really. It's an interesting Tetris-like puzzle game with an different twist for a tetris look-a-like. The point of puzzled ISN'T to eliminate all of the lines, there's a story here, and it explains the gameplay. It kind of goes like this: There was a village of men and a village of women and the two were always at war (how they ever made any new villagers I dunno..) so the gods built a tower/wall between them so they couldn't fight (or something like that) and so after a while both villages got tired of it, and sent a messenger, a boy from one and a girl from the other, in hot air balloons, (hopefully) to the top of the tower to petition the gods to remove the barrier between. That's it.

    So what does this story have to do with a puzzle game? It explains the object of the game. As mentioned earlier, it's not about getting down to the last line. Instead, when you begin the game, you pick a character, the boy or the girl, (our resident balloon pilots) and you begin your mission. This is where it kind of becomes a cross between Tetris and Breakout (or Arkanoid) in that your balloon is trapped at the bottom of the puzzle, and you have to break the lines down far enough to give it a clear flight path to the top. Open up a space, and your balloon (shark-shaped if you're the boy) floats to the top, and it's on to the next floor in the tower. Sound easy? It is... at first. The tower is divided into multiple floors, with 10 stages (puzzles) per floor.

    There are over 50 puzzles here, and since there's no difficulty adjustment for the home version, the action gets pretty furious. It also has little unexpected goodies like cute animated between-scenes with dialog. Every time you finish a floor, you meet a god, and they grant you passage to the next floor. It also has suitably varied boards with some cool obstacles like robots that float around inside the of the puzzle and bug your balloon, regenerating blocks, and gold blocks that have to be broken through three times to disappear.

    Gameplay-wise there's a neat feature called L-Ball (lightning ball). It's a meter that builds up a bit at a time, every time you complete a line. Once the meter gets past one-third, hit B and a lightening ball explodes out of your balloon, dissolving the surrounding blocks. The longer the meter, the bigger the blast. It gets pretty handy in some of the later levels. Unfortunately, you can only rotate pieces in one direction, and sometimes it seems that they don't spin fast enough, but it could depend on technique. Overall, the control does what it's intended to do. As with any puzzle game, this one *never* gives you the piece you want, but it's all part of the conspiracy. (joking)

    Puzzled is a solid puzzle game with a decent amount of replay value if you like puzzlers and it's a great game to have in your collection for your non-fighting friends or for a change of pace (my girlfriend beat it before me on MVS level 2 and 4). This game is considered rare by some but don't pay a "rare" price for it. For a Neo game it's a little below average, but as far as puzzle games go, if you like them, this is great game.


More Reviews of This Game:

by MarymeMai!

by Kazuya_UK - Courtesy of Kazuya's


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