Reviewed: April 16, 2007
Released: March 27, 2007
Puzzle games are found in abundance on the Nintendo DS because of its touch screen ability, which works well with the genre. If you are into puzzle games then the DS is probably your handheld of choice, and if youíre not into puzzle games then there are still a number of quality games offered on the DS.
Puzzles have been around since the beginning of civilization, and it should come as no surprise that developer Hudson Soft is releasing a budget puzzle game by the name of Honeycomb Beat. Honeycomb puzzles are seven hexagons, one in the middle and six surrounding. They are called honeycombs because their shape is similar to that of actual honeycombs created by bees.
Honeycomb Beat is centered around hexagonal tiles which are interlinked with each other. The main object of this game is to get all the tiles to be the same color one way or another. The trick to this game is to break down each individual area into honeycombs. Each honeycomb and its seven tiles will change into the opposite color that they were by clicking with your stylist on each individual tile.
Honeycomb Beat comes with its own Tutorial. You can learn the Basic Rules which explain that if you touch a tile it is called a ďBeatĒ and when you Beat a tile it will flip the surrounding tiles into the opposite color. Count Panels explain the tiles that appear with a number on them. Basically you must Beat that particular tile the amount of times indicated. You can do this either by Beating the tile directly or you can beat a connecting tile. Vector Labels are two sided arrows that when Beat will turn the tiles the opposite color in the direction that the arrows point.
The Vector Labels can be horizontal, diagonal, or they can be Non-Vectors which will change the individual tile they are on to the opposite color. Each of these types of Vectors can stationary, permanently placed by the computer or you must place the Vectors yourself strategically to solve the puzzle. Advanced Tech explains the trickier parts of the game. It mentions that if a tile with a Vector Label is changed by surrounding tile, it will change directions as well as color. I thought they might have added that little info into the Vector Labels tutorial. It would have really helped when I was trying to solve the harder puzzles. It would have prevented me from having to go back and start over.
This game only has two modes of play Puzzle Mode and Evolution Mode. During Puzzle Mode, you beat different areas. Each of the 20 Areas, contain 10 puzzles (200 puzzles all together). But you do not have to beat Area 01 to make it to Area 02. When you beat one of the 10 puzzles in each area it will turn the surrounding 6 tiles white which allow you to play that Areaís puzzle. The tiles will turn either dark blue or light blue depending on if you solved the puzzle within the allocated Beats light blue if you just solved it, dark blue if you received and Excellent. Each puzzle in each area gets harder the farther down and right you go.
I really liked the fact that the puzzles really made me think. Basically each puzzle is based on the fact that every action causes a reaction which means one mistake and you either have to go backwards or start over. To solve the puzzles you must end up with and an all white shape. Luckily the puzzles are not restricted by time so you are not in a hurry to solve them. You can only receive an Excellent by solving the puzzles with the right amount of Beats. Solving the puzzle depends on the first move you make.
In Evolution Mode the tiles rise slowly to the top of the screen. You have to keep the tiles from reaching the top of the screen by creating lines of white tiles. You do this by using the same honeycomb effect in the puzzles. You must complete the number of lines indicated to reach the next level. During gameplay, you will be receiving a score and a label. I am currently considered Mitochondria which if you didnít know; it is one of the simplest life forms. Dust is the worst of the worst; itís not even a simple life form.
Yeah, so I stink so far, but Iím trying. Itís not that easy but it is fun. There are 10 levels to beat. You have the option of checking your Personal Ranking, which is your top 10 scoreís, and Total Ranking which lets you know how you stand compared to everyone else who has played. Luckily Iím the only one who has played so Iím number one! There is also some unlockables in Evolution Mode.
There is one last mode; Configuration. This mode allows you to change the Panel Color, Background, Music, and the top screen Visual. I personally think they added the Visual just so that they could say this is a Nintendo DS game and not a Gameboy Advance Game. The more puzzles you complete during Puzzle mode the more options you will have.
Honestly, this game may have some questions to answer to Microsoft because it seems to have stolen some of its screen savers and backgrounds. The backgrounds on the game can be switched between different pictures which are pretty much the same kind of options a new computer or cell phone offers. The visual in the top screen is just like a music screen saver, the same crappy line graphics Media Player comes installed with.
Overall I thought the graphics seemed behind the times; it almost seemed like an old game. There was no need for the Visual, I thought they could have saved themselves some money and just created this with the old Gameboy technology. But I guess it did add another element of choice in the game. I chose the Wave visual because it was the only one I stare at without becoming nauseous.
The sound wasnít terrible; it at least gave you the option to pick which music you wanted to hear. The fact that each song reminded me of a standard cell phone ring tone is irrelevant. I know I canít expect them to add real songs because they knew this kind of game wouldnít bring in as much money as other games. I liked the fact that I had the option to pick the music which would play throughout the puzzles.
I think that $20.00 isnít a bad price for the launch of the game. But, I suspect the game will be found at a lower price in your local Wal-mart dump bin pretty soon. Donít get me wrong. I like the game but there is just nothing spectacular about it.
The game does accomplish its goal of being a honeycomb puzzle game. I think they should have made the game more modern, and they could have found a way too really incorporate the Nintendo DS technology other than the touchscreen. There is really no reason to not have this game in Gameboy format. I think the only reason it is not is because the Nintendo DS is the hot seller right now. Overall the game is fun but could be better. Similar games can easily be played online for free via the Internet.