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Puzz 3D: Victorian Mansion

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Wrebbit
Developer: DYAD Digital Studios
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in the puzzle mode for Puzz 3D: Victorian Mansion are very nice, with highly detailed puzzle pieces to snap together. The animation is smooth and crisp as well. When you switch to the 3D building mode, the graphics are still very clean and detailed, which makes for an immersive experience. The only view (there are plenty) in the puzzle-building mode that looks bad is the ďlook aroundĒ mode, which for some reason is only in 320x200, and a really ugly 320x200 at that. Itís not a view that I ever used, though, so itís not really a detriment. The graphics in the mystery scenes are quite detailed, if not the sharpest youíve ever seen.

The between-room transitions as you wander around the house are s-l-o-w, though, so make sure youíve gotten everything in a room before you leave it. And the graphics are really, really jumpy at first when you enter a room. But if you spin around the room once, it seems that the game caches the graphics and it runs at a decent speed. A flaw, but not an irrecoverable one. The FMVís with the actors are passable, if a bit campy, but they do a decent job of setting the mood of the murder mystery.

The sound effects in the puzzle mode are very basic, with clicks when pieces go together and a little fanfare when you complete a section. Itís a puzzle game, though, so thereís no real need for elaborate sound effects. The music is nonexistent at times, and not memorable at the other times.


Gameplay:

The puzzle engine in Victorian Mansion is very solid. Pieces snap together logically, and at the more difficult levels when you have to rotate a piece, the rotation is done by simply right-clicking on the piece. Nothing could be easier. The various difficulty levels make the game very playable for anyone. The only possible flaw, and this is one with any jigsaw, is that a lot of the pieces look very similar. The Victorian Mansion seems to consist entirely of a red outer wall and gray roof. But thatís just the way it is, and canít be held against the game.

Putting the pieces where they go on the 3D building screen can sometimes be a pain, but thatís what you get for not fully assembling the 3D sections on the workbench. The workbench itself is big enough to put all the pieces, and you can have unlimited numbers of trays to stash pieces to get them out of your way. All in all, very solid.

The murder mystery portion of the game, however, seems a little slap-dash, sort of a last-minute add-on to give the game a bit of depth. Itís passable, but the game would have been just as good without it. It does make for a small diversion from fiddling with the pieces, though. And the occasionally video clips and sound clips that pop up throughout the game as you complete sections break up the monotony as well. The only real flaw with Puzz 3D: Victorian Mansion is that thereís only one puzzle in it... the Victorian Mansion. It may be a marketing thing, but itíd be nice if you got more than one Puzz 3D puzzle with each purchase.


Difficulty:

The difficulty varies for Victorian Mansion depending on what difficulty level you put it on, surprisingly enough. The easiest level has only 150 pieces, which donít rotate, and the 3D construction site has wire-frame to guide you in your piece placement. The hardest difficulty level has 700 pieces, the pieces rotate, and thereís no wire-frame assembly. Prepare to be sitting there for a long time doing those puzzles.

Game Mechanics:

The controls are intuitive, and thereís a tutorial that shows you all the different things you can do. It becomes second nature within a few seconds of playing. If you over-click in the 3D construction mode, expect to be watching the screen scrolling back and forth for a while, but thatís just my own stupid fault. Puzz 3D: Victorian Mansion installs like a breeze and plays like a breeze, offering hours and hours of gameplay for the avid puzzle gamer. Just make sure you have something else to play when you get tired of trying to snap together a lot of similar-looking pieces -- but isnít that how real life puzzles are too?

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P100, 16MB Ram, 45MB HD Space, 2X CD-ROM, Sound Card, Mouse
 

Test System:



K6-III 450, 256MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live!, Creative TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM

Windows Puzz 3D: Bavarian Castle Windows Madden NFL 2000

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated