Mixing Pokémon and the classic game of Reversi, Neopets Puzzle Adventure by Capcom puts players into the role of an adventurer making his way through a unique and lively world. Pick your Neopet, collect Petpets, and battle it out with other creatures, each of them bringing their own allies into battle.
Neopets Puzzle Adventure is pretty straightforward in setting your goals. Usually, you’re given very specific instructions by a random character, and slowly make your way there by selecting the location on the bottom screen. That leads to either a conversation with another character, or a game of reversi. There isn’t much to the story, though it ramps up as you get deeper and uncover more of it, and at first the battles are fairly uneventful. Once you start collecting Petpets, however, the game becomes much more engaging.
You can use Petpets to alter the rules on the board. From extra turns to flipping your opponent’s chips to your color, each Petpet has its own special powers that can turn the tide of battle. There are times when you are being overwhelmed, and the wise use of a Petpet will change the momentum in your favor. Conversely, you can never get too comfortable with your lead because most opponents have their own Petpets and use them wisely. Reversi is a game whose score can swing wildly in either direction, and the added Petpets abilities mean that you must stay focused even if you have a big points lead.
Neopets Puzzle Adventure allows you to unlock items for your Neopet online. As you play through the game, you get codes that you can use online. These codes allow you to customize your online Neopet that you create at the game’s website. This integration of game and website is a good idea that adds value to the package. Once the developers flesh out the web portions even more, the online link will likely be as crucial to potential buyers as the games themselves, so I look forward to what they can come up with. I was not able to test multiplayer portion of the game, though the game features head to head combat, using the same battle system and Petpets.
The graphics in Neopets Puzzle Adventure are expectedly vivid, and the world is displayed using a pre-rendered game world over which you guide your 2d character. The battles play out on a gaming board on the bottom screen, while the top screen shows the combatants and the score. While you are moving around town, the bottom screen has the characters and the level, while the top screen has the name of the town you’re visiting. Overall, it’s a simple layout that probably could’ve benefitted from some more detail, some more animations, and more activity outside of the battles.
The audio fares better, with the main theme sounding vibrant through headphones and the battle themes providing some variety. Overall, the game could probably use more tunes to keep things feeling fresh as you progress. Still, the presentation in this game is adequate, and you won’t have any problems navigating to your next task or figuring out what’s happening on screen.
Neopets Puzzle Adventure will be a welcome addition to fans of the series, and fans of Pokemon in general may want to give this game a look to experience the mix of collecting and the unique battle system based around a classic game. The online portions extend the game’s universe and gives fans an extended arena with which to play, though the main quest itself is lengthy enough. It’s a good idea that would benefit future games in the genre, including the hugely popular Pokemon series. The AI is fairly challenging as well, making sure that you pick your Petpet wisely and use them at just the right time to turn the tides of battle.