Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review

Anyone that knows me will tell you that the puzzle genre is, and has always been, one of my personal favorites. That being said, I have always looked at the many iterations of Puzzle Fighter as nothing more than a lackluster puzzle game that features various Capcom characters in a lame attempt to increase units sold. After having spent countless hours playing this game for the last month on Partnernet, and playing it extensively on Xbox Live, I can kind of see the beauty here that everyone has been talking about. Although this "beauty" definitely has a few scars…

Without reiterating the "How to Play" section of the game verbatim, you drop multicolored gems down and use a crash gem to destroy them. Destroy enough and you will attack your opponent with a predefined pattern of blocks. There’s much more to it than that but I suspect if you’re interested, you’ll either investigate further or play the trial.

This formula has been used many times and really stands the test of time. Feverishly dropping gems to create blocks and using a crash gem on them to administer some hurt on your opponent is still enjoyable after countless matches and you’ll find yourself in the "just one more match" mood every time you pick up the controller.

The game would be a worthwhile purchase if just the basic gameplay was there, but since this uses the Capcom license, it has some extra depth and, sadly, a few balancing issues.

Each character has their own unique drop pattern that they attack their enemies with and depending on who you pick and who you play against, you will have to alter your playstyle in subtle ways. For example, if someone only drops blue gems on the left and red gems on the right, you need to start planning accordingly early in the match.

Since I am fairly new to the game, I didn’t know of the balance issues until I heard about them on some of the Puzzle Fighter forums. According to the man charged with rebalancing the characters for the new X’ mode, "In the original game, Ken and Donovan were the best because they had the ‘least bad’ drop patterns." Whether or not he succeeded in rebalancing the game remains to be seen, but it seems fairly discouraging to new players when there are obvious tiers in a competitive game such as this. It’s especially discouraging when the game does not explain that certain characters take less damage and that certain characters deal more damage. Nowhere in the game does it list this as a gameplay element and/or explain it. Lame.

For the most part though, the game does an excellent job of mixing luck and skill. There are moments where you think you have your enemy defeated until, before you know it, a diamond appears on their screen and half their screen is eliminated and the Puzzle Fighter domino effect is triggered. You can call it luck, I call it a fun gameplay element.

Now for the most important part of my review: did this pass the girlfriend test? Yes, it did. She enjoyed the gameplay but was rather confused on the differences between the characters, which is pretty understandable. When asked if she would play it again, she replied with a definite "yes."

Puzzle Fighter costs 800 Microsoft points and is definitely worth the money even if you have just a small bit of interest in puzzle games. Here’s something you never here in a review — it’s easy to pick up and play yet still has a lot of depth for die-hard fans to keep coming back for more. That may be typical, but hey if the shoe fits…


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Author: Kyle Stallock View all posts by

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