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Puzzle Mania 2

For: Mobile

What does it take to push you over the edge into a fully-fledged mania?

Product: Puzzle Mania 2 | Developer: Xendex Entertainment | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 119KB | Reviewed on: W810i other handsets | Version: Europe
Puzzle Mania 2 Mobile, thumbnail 1

You know how you get when someone's about to beat you in a game: you become angry, frustrated and irrational, more often than not ruining the experience for both of you. Oh, alright, so maybe you're a better sport, but we're willing to bet that you've got your limits, and Puzzle Mania 2 is going to push them.

It's yet another block-dropping puzzle game, but in this case you have control over the blocks that drop. Set within a playing area that varies in size, you need to join similar blocks to make them disappear. Get rid of all of the blocks within a level – each and every one – and you win.

The blocks differ in that they boast a particular number or coloured shape (see the screens) and, depending upon the level, there can be as few as two different types of block and as many as ten.

The number of each type of block can vary, too. Sometimes there are just two, making it easy to pair them and remove them. Other times there are four, which is just as easy to deal with. But on some occasions there are three, and that's when Puzzle Mania 2 gets tricky.

You see, due to the way you move blocks around, you're restricted in how you can join them together. You can either plan it so that you drop a block down into a gap between the other two, or get clever and place intervening blocks between them which, when removed, allow the three to touch.

The 'dropping' part of Puzzle Mania 2 is important because your blocks obey the laws of gravity with an almost fearful compliance. Hence, move a block off a ledge by selecting it with the cursor and then moving it over the edge, and it'll drop to the level below. You can continue moving it left and right (and even down another level if there is one) but you can't move it back up from whence it came.

This means you need to think carefully about where you drop your blocks. Thankfully you get a handful of attempts at completing each new level so any mistakes you make needn't be fatal, but still, Puzzle Mania demands your full attention right from the start.

There are three worlds to compete in, starting in a snow and ice-filled wasteland before moving onto industrial and futuristic landscapes. Each gets progressively harder, and rapidly so. You'll have played for just five or ten minutes before the first real head-scratcher crops up, and if you're the sort who doesn't enjoy being bested by a game, you're going to find Puzzle Mania 2 a title you play once and never again.

In fact, it could be said that Puzzle Mania is too hard to fully enjoy. After all, the instructions are gleefully short and imprecise, leading you to figure out the controls for yourself, and there's no quick hints button to give you a helping hand when all seems lost.

Even the look and sound of the game are bargain-basement fare, so you're going to have to make sure you buy Puzzle Mania 2 for the right reasons: you're either masochistic, have an IQ of at least 180, or the patience of a saint. Everyone else can leave it.

Puzzle Mania 2
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 22 February 2007
Too hard to be really good fun, this is a game for hardcore puzzle fanatics only
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