Sunday, April 12, 2009

AAA looks at: Puchi Carat

Puchi Carat can best be described as a combination of Bust-A-Move and Breakout. Bust-A-Move as you probably know is a "falling-block" style puzzle game where you aim balls that rebound off of walls in order to destroy like-colored balls. If you hit a ball that others are attached to you can also knock them loose creating large combos and in a Vs game, completely destroy your opponent. Breakout is even simpler to explain. You move a paddle from left to right hitting a ball and destroying blocks. 

Thus in order to succeed at Puchi-Carat one has to move a paddle from left to right hitting a ball that rebounds off of walls and destroys balls. Instead of like-colored balls you simply have to hit balls that cause entire chunks of them to fall off the screen, keeping your butt out of the fire and sticking it to your opponent(and/or scoring a lot of points). Two things to look out for is that when your balls pass your line it's Game Over and if your ball hits the ground below your paddle your playfield advances three lines. There is actually some strategy to this as advancing the playfield can create huge attack situations.   

After selecting your character(which determines where balls go on your opponent's space when make a huge attack, selection is key because these attacks have weaknesses that can be exploited) you can choose from three modes. The first mode is your standard single-player mode where you simply have to survive a constantly advancing playfield and score tons of points. All of the rules I mentioned in the previous paragraph apply. The second mode is the VS CPU mode which I advise you to avoid at all costs(more on this later). The third mode is VS HUMAN which is self-explanatory.

I say avoid VS CPU because of the nature of the game. This puzzle game is not an easy one. For most puzzle games you have to have two things: the knowledge to figure out a solution, and the means to do it. You can have a huge solution sitting right in front of you but if you don't have the missing piece you're out of luck. Puchi-Carat adds a third variable in that you have to properly aim in order to succeed. Unless you're skilled in Breakout and its many variations I would avoid this game. If you can't get around the third variable you simply won't succeed. VS CPU further complicates by what else? The computer. VS-style puzzle games are notorious for having absolutely insane AI. The AI always has the answers and even if you can figure them out as well you still have to deal with the paddle. Combine further with the awful shrill voices screeching every few seconds and it's just a huge headache.

The game is still worth a look I guess but please...spare yourself the same headache that I have and avoid the VS CPU mode, it's complete garbage.

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