Move Your Brain: Rollway Puzzle
DSiWare | Assoria | 1 Player | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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20th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
To play the game, you need to open your DSi completely so that both screens are facing outwards. Using the camera in the background, allow you to tilt the virtual scape simply by tilting your DSi handheld. Needless to say, for the ideal gameplay experience, you'll need to play the game in a well-lit area. Although it works best with natural lighting, artificial lighting can work just as well with the right volume. So for those of you hoping to play this game under the covers at night, you'll have to get your rebellious fix somewhere else.
The tilting mechanism sure is unique and it certainly works miles better than WarioWare Snapped, but it would be silly for anyone to expect perfection. The game can get frustrating from time to time when the tilts aren't being recognized effeciently, especially when you're trying to pass through areas with no walls or railings. Because it's easy to fall off in these sections, the game expects players to have a relatively good deal of accuracy and the tilting mechanism isn't always reliable (even in the best lighting). In the event that the game starts to not work correctly, it is advised that you bring up the Pause Menu so that you can re-center your face to help re-calibrate it.
The game treats players to a total of 22 stages, played through one after the other with a cumulative score. You'll need to guide your rainbow-coloured ball to the goal at the end of each stage before the timer runs out. Each stage has a set of gold coins that can be collected to add to your point total, and even unlock inaccessible routes. Along the way, you'll also need to keep on the look out for "enemies" which are actually quite tame in retrospect. For example, lawnmowers will try to ram into you, and mini-tornadoes will roam narrow pathways to try to blow you off course. When you fall off the stage or get hit by either one of these, your ball will utter a rather humorous scream as you return to the last-activated checkpoint. Thankfully, checkpoints are well spaced-out and they maintain a nice balance throughout in terms of how frequently they appear.
There's a pretty good mix of level designs that range from simple to just plain tricky, which adds to the game's overall learning curve. Each stage is comprised of various gimmicks which work well, without feeling unnecessary or slapped on. Catapults, for example, can be used to fire your ball off into one of four directions simply by tilting the system. Springs and booster pads can be used to break through cracked walls. Also, in later stages, you'll need to picture riddles to access hidden passageways and open up locked gates. Puzzle solutions get pretty clever once portals start appearing in some of the levels, but figuring out each solution is all part of the fun that this game has to offer (for better or for worse).
The braking mechanism is probably one of the strongest elements in the game that bring the whole package together, in spite of the minor technical hiccups. Thankfully, this feature doesn't prevent players from using skill by activating it continuously on demand. A well thought-out meter is used to space out braking, and you can only activate it once you have enough power in the gauge on the top screen. Without being able to stop in place, the game could have been a more frustrating experience so it's great that this was considered during development.
The entire game has a rather pleasant atmosphere going for it. Move Your Brain has a few music tracks that circulate with each passing level, but obviously you'll hear some more often than others. The whistles and the mellow-sounding vibes along with the mild rock-inspired music are all great and they suit the clean gameplay. While there are some neat puzzles and level designs, visually-speaking, it's not very crisp. In the grand scheme of things, though, this is hardly something to care much for since the game is already priced so reasonably.
Clearing all 22 levels may prove to be a bit harder than you might think, as it's likely that you'll get stuck on a few puzzles. Beating the game in its entirety should take the average player a few hours but for only $5, it does offer a good amount of content. As mentioned earlier, the game keeps track of your cumulative score across all of the stages, so there is some reason to return to the game to beat your best accomplishment. However, the game would've had so much more extended value had there been a time attack feature where you could compare your times with family members and friends. Although the game may not have as much replay value as one might like, the quest is still fun to plow through for an afternoon or even over a couple of days.
Assoria's first DSiWare game is not only innovative, but it's pretty fun when it works. Under the right circumstances, a large variety of age groups and audiences can enjoy this title and the nice little touches contained within the game make it a worthwhile romp. It could've used a bit more polish and a stronger focus on repeat play, but Move Your Brain: Rollway Puzzle is still a great game that's worth the 500 Points.
23/30 - Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Quite innovative, puzzles aren't always straight-forward, quite a few tricky solutions, good use of gimmicks
Presentation 8/10 - Doesn't go for elegance but it looks fairly good, edges aren't crisp, good puzzles, mellow music, pleasant feel
Enjoyment 4/5 - When you play it under the right circumstances it can be fun, appeals to multiple audiences, may experience bouts of frustration
Extra Content 3/5 - Good number of levels, keeps track of a cumulative score, Time Attack-type mode could've encouraged repeat play
Equivalent to a score of 77% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)