|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Infinite Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Additionally, the use of character stats, items, and food isnt explained well, nor do these gameplay mechanics seem to play an integral role in your success throughout the adventure. Many of the games quests entail simply moving from one area of the map to the next no combat or conversation and overall, Neopets: Puzzle Adventure is an extremely shallow experience.
Adding to the games impoverished offering are constant frame shuddering and lag issues, both during battles and when making your way about the map. If you want to go to the menu, theres a load screen; if you want to check your stats, theres a load screen; enter battle load screen. Moving the cursor to place tokens, use equipment, or to play a Pet-pet during battles works well enough, but youll constantly be wrestling lag in order to make your move. Navigating the overworld, however, is far worse, and we spent a great deal of time making random jerking motions just to view other sections of the map.
On the production front, Neopets: Puzzle Adventure is also fairly underdeveloped, and though the 2D artwork is attractive, it nowhere near makes up for the overall slapped-together feel the game exudes. The overworlds are merely a collection of static backgrounds, as are the conversations between the games characters. Again, framerate issues only serve to chip away at the experience, and theres nothing here, really, fans cant already get for free from the Neopets website.
The audio fares a bit better, though the constant lag and shudder make it pretty much impossible to appreciate. There isnt a whole lot of variety in terms of the games music, but sound effects and themes are satisfying and fit well alongside the candy coated artwork.
With some optimization and polish, Neopets: Puzzle Adventure could make a wonderful $5-10 WiiWare game. However, the game retails for $40, and considering its many flaws, its a title fans should snub whole heartedly. There are some mini-games offered within the story, and though they help to break up the repetition of the Reversi-style gameplay, they do little to make interesting use of the Wii Remote. Also present are unlockable codes players can use on the Neopets website to claim various small-time prizes, yet its an extra that really should have been built into the actual game using Nintendos WiFi Connection service. The two-player, multiplayer option is likely the games best feature, but theres no online interactivity whatsoever.
There are some fundamentally good gameplay tidbits here, but ultimately, Neopets: Puzzle Adventure is an over-priced and unfinished product. Neopets fanatics who just have to check it out should rent it and send it back; everyone else can take a pass.
CCC Freelance Writer