NINTENDO DS REVIEW: POKEMON TROZEI

It's Pokemon meets Tetris and that's fine by me, as I love Tetris and don't care for Pokemon. by Cole Smith

March 15, 2006 - Pokemon Trozei is a Tetris-inspired puzzle game. Although it features Pokemon characters, they are only used to establish different tiles, much in the same way similar games use different shapes or colors. The fact that the game features Pokemon and uses Pokemon images in the game will both attract and repel gamers. Just keep in mind that this game would still play the same if it featured different characters or shapes so don't be scared that it's going to suck.

Trozei is a lot of fun. I like puzzle games but to tell you the truth, there are just too many variations of Tetris and Bust-a-Move on the market and I don't see that ending anytime soon. There are some very good variations of these games to be sure, but as a reviewer I have to play all of the crappy ones as well. I could enjoy a game like this once every few months, but when I have to review two similar games a month, it just becomes a blur. Fortunately the DS has unique features such as the dual screen and the touch control system that can give wings to old games. Not all of the developers make good use of DS but those that do can realize a great profit by re-releasing an old game and configuring the control system to exploit the capabilities of the DS, if not making it seem like a new game it will at least be refreshed and updated.

Trozei makes great use of the dual screen and the touch screen. It's hard to imagine this game being played any other way. You are totally immersed in the gameplay which becomes faster and more frenetic the better you perform. To resort to the controller would leave one feeling detached, not to mention there would be the question of question of speed and accuracy since you may have to pinpoint a specific tile in a grid that can consist of 55 tiles. Having to scroll through the grid with a reticle both horizontally and vertically would be too time consuming, especially when decisions have to be made in a split second.

The object of the game is to match up identical Pokemon characters, vertically, horizontally or both, and make them disappear from your bin. You have to line up at least four to make a "Trozei," which is the name for matching up and clearing characters. You do this by touching the screen on the column or row that you want to shift.

The grid consists of five tiles width-wise and 11 vertical tiles. The tiles with the characters on them are dropped from the top and if you can't get rid of the ones on the bottom fast enough they will all pile up to the top and you'll lose that level of the game. All of the characters on the grid will move to the right or the left, or up and down in the same chronological order. That means that if you move a row to the right, the character that was in the last (fifth) grid will now be in the first grid on the right, and the character that was in the first grid will now be in the second grid, and so on down the line.

Each time that you manage to make a four or five tile Trozei, you will activate the Trozei Chance mode which allows you to make links of two or three characters. This lets you get rid of some of the "junk" you might have lying around near the bottom of your bin. This feature will remain active so long as you can make matches. If you wait too long to make a match the Trozei Chance mode will be cancelled.

One of this game's greatest features is how it's designed to appeal to a wide range of gamers. You can be a total beginner or a puzzle-savvy pro. Beginners have the advantage of moving the tiles around by trial and error which usually results in clearing a level although it may take a little more time. Pros can attempt to make bigger combos by matching five or more tiles which results in more points. You have to plan ahead by looking at the board and figuring things out in your head. This is something that a beginner would eventually be able to do with lots of practice. There is plenty of depth here if you choose to explore it all.

Other than the Pokemon characters on the tiles, the only other Pokemon trademark is the "collect-'em-all" element. Every so often a rare Pokemon that has no matching tile will appear in your bin. The only way you can collect it is to match it with the Ditto tile which is wild. But you have to be in the Trozei Chance mode to make a two-tile combo. Needless to say this isn't easy. If you miss it, it will eventually reappear. Collect-'em-All and you'll unlock some special features.

Graphically the game isn't very interesting. The Pokemon characters are very small and low-res. The sound is a blend of techno and hip hop that acts as nothing more than filler. There is no wireless multi-player mode but you can access the two-player mode with only one copy of the game. It's a great addition that brings another dimension to the gameplay. You can also trade data with other interested players.

Pokemon Trozei is in my opinion, the best game ever to have the word "Pokemon" in the title - that, and the fact that it really doesn't have anything to do with the traditional Pokemon games.

Features

  • Find and line up over 380 Pokemon puzzle pieces to complete your Trozei list. Battle or cooperate wirelessly with friends to help uncover rare Pokemon for your collection. Rescue stolen Pokemon and uncover the evil plans of the Phobos Battalion in Adventure mode. Distribute a version of Pokemon Trozei with limited functions to friends, allowing you to compete or cooperate with a friend using just one game card.
  • In Adventure mode, you play as Lucy Fleetfoot in an action-packed mission to save tons of Pokemon from the evil Phobos Battalion.
  • In Endless Trozei mode, your goal is to challenge your high score by playing as long as possible. Select a starting level, then let the Trozei marathon begin. When the number of remaining Pokemon reaches zero, you move to the next level.
  • In Trozei Battle, the player whose field has been filled with Pokemon will lose. If you make numerous Trozeis during the battle, you can send Pokemon that are in your Pokemon set to your opponent's field.
  • Your goal in Pair Trozei is to challenge the high score while cooperating with a friend. The more Continuous Trozeis you make, the easier it is for your partner to get Trozeis because the number of types of Pokemon will decrease on their field. Also, Dittos will drop on your partner's field instead of yours.
  • The storyline in Pokemon Trozei is much deeper than you'd expect in a puzzle game. The evil Phobos Battalion has been stealing countless Poke Balls containing Pokemon and carrying them to their secret bases using machines called Phobos Mobiles. Playing as Lucy Fleetfoot, your mission is to rescue the stolen Pokemon from the Phobos Battalion.
  • To rescue Pokemon, you'll need to use a gadget called the Trozei Beamer. This device allows you to scan Poke Balls and then transfer the Pokemon inside to safety. An accurate lock is required for transfer, which means that you have to line up Poke Balls containing identical Pokemon in a straight line.
  • To rescue all of the stolen Pokemon, you'll have to battle your way through a long series of increasingly challenging levels and boss battles with Phobos Battalion generals.
  • Pokemon Trozei is a great new puzzle game. The Pokemon flavor will definitely appeal to Pokemon fans, but even if you're not a Pokemon fanatic this game is worth checking out just for the great puzzle action. The basic gameplay mechanics are easy to learn, but the longer you play the more you realize that there is real depth beneath the deceptively simple exterior. This is a must-play for any puzzle fan.

By Cole Smith
CCC Staff Writer

Rating out of 5
Pokemon Trozei (DS)
3.0
Graphics
The graphics are tiny and low res. The backgrounds are uninteresting and the cutscenes are very cheap looking.
4.5
Control
The touch control system really lets you get a grip on things. The action is fast and frenetic and would not be as easy to control using a button or D-pad.
2.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and sound effects are filler. Nothing to hear here.
4.5
Play Value
good variety of challenging single-player modes and the two-player mode ensures that you'll be solving puzzles for a long time to come.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: DS
Dev: Genius Sonority
Pub: Nintendo
Released: Mar 2006
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best