This past weekend I picked up the Dr. Mario/Puzzle League combo for the Gameboy Advance. It just came out last week and retails for $30, but I scored it for $12.98 at Meijer. Anyway, I’ve been waiting for this release for quite a while since the Japanese Gamecube version looked so good.
This cartridge offers two wonderful puzzle games on one cartridge and will provide mobile gamers with a great challenge and loads of fun. Dr. Mario originally was released on the NES and the original monochrome Gameboy. Puzzle League originated as Panel de Pon in Japan. Both have been re-built for the GBA and look great.
Graphics – 9
You can’t really expect dazzling graphics from puzzle games — they should be fairly simplistic by nature. However, both games are well-produced and are alive with vibrant colors. I can’t really think of any improvements that could be made. Even when playing on the Gamecube’s Gameboy Player, the games look wonderful.
Sound – 8
Puzzle games also aren’t well-known for the sound quality. But there are a number of puzzle games that have very annoying music. Neither games fit into the annoying category. Dr. Mario has some remixes of its old them and they sound nice. Puzzle League actually had somewhat enjoyable theme music (which changed moods during the intensity) and fun sound effects.
Gameplay – 9
I’ve never been a huge Dr. Mario fan since it doesn’t stand out in the puzzle genre. It has a cute twist on the falling block scheme, but I just never got really into it. It is above average, but nothing to write home about.
Puzzle League on the other hand, actually takes you a few rounds to adjust to its gameplay — especially if the block-dropping games are engrained in your head. Puzzle League actually makes you think a bit more than most every puzzle game — without being frustrating. After you play though it a few times you will quickly learn the technique and will get that “in-the-zone” feeling in no time. My wife has been addicted to this game for two solid days. It’s the first thing that she turned on when she got home from work.
Affordability – 6
I got an excellent deal on this new for $13, but it retails for $30. It just came out in the US, so you may not find it real cheap right away.