Puzzle Guzzle Review

They say that 8 out of 10 upstart restaurants are doomed to failure before ever getting off the ground. The same seems to hold true for the puzzle genre, where new concepts are always a hard sell to the gaming community. Puzzle games have to strike balances between simplicity and complexity, innovation and familiarity, freedom and strictly-defined rulesets, etc., all while remaining captivating and enjoyable to play. If a game falls short in these areas, it is likely to be relegated to bargain bin duties and rarely heard from again.

Irem Software’s Puzzle Guzzle strives to carve out a place for itself among the endless library of related titles, and although it does bring some new ideas to the table, it just lacks that special something necessary to be a hit.

The object of Puzzle Guzzle is to form complete geometric shapes by lining up the different patterns on adjacent blocks, arranged in grid fashion. Each block can be rotated in place, but may not be moved from its position unless a block somewhere below it is cleared, causing it to fall. As you might have guessed by now, when one of the aforementioned shapes is completed, the blocks that comprise it disappear, and the player scores a few points.

There are three basic game types in Puzzle Guzzle, which can be played in a variety of ways. Drop Puzzle is your basic fall-from-the-sky mode, where blocks descend from above with increasing frequency and rapidity as time goes by and points build up. Players must eliminate blocks to prevent the screen from filling. Stuffit Puzzle is a timed game where the screen remains full of blocks at all times. Players simply try to make as many shapes and accrue as many points as possible before time runs out. Quiz Puzzle presents jumbled images made out of pre-arranged blocks, which players must clear all in one shot. This means carefully arranging blocks to avoid clearing any prematurely, and also planning out how eliminating certain ones will cause others to fall into place after the final move is made. This can actually become quite complex as multiple drops and clears come into play.

Both Drop and Stuffit can be played via game sharing or ad hoc muliplayer, as well as single player mode. All three game types can be played in challenge mode, which is basically a player vs. CPU match where the player is rewarded for each victory. For me, the spoils of challenge mode were the most interesting aspect of the game.

Before ever seeing a puzzle, you are asked to create a little mascot for yourself. This is as simple as a cube with a smiley face on it. The “challenge” part of challenge mode comes from the fact that players compete against any of the game’s 100 other mascots, and after defeating them in deadly puzzle combat (not really), get to steal one aspect of the loser’s design. Basically, it’s like Mr. Potato Head all over again; the eyes, nose, mouth, hat, glasses, beard, shape, color, and voice of your mascot are all replaceable, as are the hindering effects that your opponents must endure when you efficiently clear blocks.

Finally, the game features a puzzle editing mode, where you can create and trade Quiz Puzzle designs, a stat tracker detailing a variety of things you may or may not care enough to know about your puzzle-playing, and…a daily horoscope reading based on your mascot’s zodiac sign? I found that to be an odd addition, but it’s there, nonetheless.

Overall, Puzzle Guzzle doesn’t break any new ground, but is still a functional and sensible puzzle game. It suffers from a very bland presentation, however, and fails to either instantly draw gamers in or hold its audience’s interest for more than a few play sessions. The gameplay is not entirely intuitive, and as the pace picks up, players are generally forced to settle for less and less, until things have boiled down to either popping of a bunch of 2-block shapes or wildly rotating blocks in hopes that you can be fast enough to actually accomplish something. Either way, there is little growth in terms of player skill or understanding, and that doesn’t work for a puzzle game.

To be honest, each time one of these objects-fall-from-above-into-a-vertically-oriented-rectangular- container games is released, I can’t help but to wonder if everyone is still in the midst of a multi-decade swoon over Tetris, or if entirely original ideas just aren’t floating around out there. Maybe those are just the 2 out of every 10 that actually make it big.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.