It's rare that a game come out of the gate with great names attached and little buzz or hype-- Kurulin Fusion was one of these. The music is by Nobuo Uematsu (of the early Final Fantasy games), and the game itself is coming from Tozai Games, whose last two Xbox 360 downloadables of R-Type Dimensions and Lode Runner were both pretty solid titles. It's a shame this puzzle/matching game is also from MTO, who is responsible for developing Dogz, Catz and related games-- a fact I did not realize until this review was already written.
Like so many Tetris-inspired puzzlers, pieces drop, you need to match them up a certain way, and they disappear. Simple. There's really not much to it.
Dare To Bore Me
After downloading this title I fired up a quick game without checking the tutorial and, after 30 minutes, decided to give myself a game over because it wasn't really going anywhere. The game goes from slow to fast quickly, and every so many levels, slows down again. In this way, it's different from most puzzlers, but by letting the player earn this "break" it basically de-fangs the game and it gets dull. Challenge isn't what makes all games great, but this is one of the few times where I played a game before bed and was acutely aware of how much time was passing. I picked it up again a few times and had the same reaction-- fairly easy, fairly boring.
There are some other modes, like a challenge mode and a score attack mode, but after trying these they really didn't add much to the experience. "Make 10 orbs disappear" is less a "challenge" than it is something that should be integrated into the tutorial.
Graphics & Sound
The visuals are standard portable fare, colorful but nothing special. The music is Bach music revised by Nobuo Uematsu, and really, what you're doing is buying the game because you're curious to hear the music. There's not a lot here to wow you, even at the budget price point (made even cheaper by a sale running where the game is $2.50) it's still basically a drag.
Well, the barrier to entry is basically zero. You can pick this one up, figure it out, and probably be pretty good at it in no time flat.
Is it worth buying?
While cheap and easy to grasp, it quickly becomes a drag. If this were a no-name Flash game, you'd probably give it a whirl, shrug, and go back to playing Columns or whatever it is you like on your console emulators. After putting a couple of hours into it, it just feels flat and dull, it isn't inept like some other games, but it's just not exciting. For $2.50-$5.00, it's probably a fine diversion on a subway or in line at an airport, but it's not a great experience you'll want to keep coming back to time and again.
Online modes were not tested for the purposes of this review.
January 26, 2010