[1 December 2008]
Ignore the corporate tie-in for a second. The Nintendo DS is the current safe haven for addictive, brain-taxing puzzle games, and this particular Puzzle Adventure actually continues that tradition magnificently. The game puts a candy-coated shell around Reversi (or Othello, or whatever other name you have for the game where you transform your opponent’s pieces by surrounding them with your pieces), and yet the gameplay does not cater to the young demographic that it courts. I was oddly surprised and delighted when I was handily defeated by the very first opponent I faced, and the game’s difficulty simply doesn’t let up. The story is incidental, the colorful characters may or may not be a distraction, but there’s no mistaking the quality of the puzzling. The Neopets brand as a whole has its issues, but this particular tie-in will keep you tapping the screen through the long winter break and beyond.