Neves (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
The question of whether Nintendo knew about the Casual Gamer when they were creating the DS will no doubt be debated for years to come but one thing's for sure: they are here to stay and now that they've trained their brains, sight and counting ability the search is on for other ways to expand the grey matter. Neves is based on a very old gaming concept of Tangram, which generally arrived in a plastic tray with a collection of easy to lose pieces. The problem was that once it was solved there was little else to do with it, although some of the more advanced offerings allowed for multiple shapes. Imagine then, the ability to solve 100s of puzzles with absolutely no chance of misplacing even the odd triangle. Welcome to Neves.
You can probably tell by the screens exactly what type of game this is and, to be honest, its simplicity is where its greatness lies. You are presented with a series of 'shadowed' templates into which you must fit a handful of shapes. While this seems simple you will discover that, on many occasions, you'll place the pieces in one by one with great confidence only to discover that the final part of the puzzle won't actually fit anywhere. Why? Well it's because you can also flip the pieces and suddenly the puzzles take on a whole new life. You'll also start to figure out that just because a shape fits perfectly in an area, it's not necessarily where its final resting place is and it's this element of uncertainty where the challenge really begins.
Once you've been through all the puzzles (and there are loads of them) you may wish to tackle them again against the clock or attempt to complete them in 7 steps or less however once you've mastered all the puzzles, doing them again in less than three minutes is not too difficult, initially at least. Bragging Rights (also known as the Multi-player) allows you to hook up with another DS (and only a single copy of the game) in order to battle it out over three puzzles. Clearly there can only be one winner.
As we've already mentioned this used to be played by placing plastic shapes on a grid and while you could maneuver the various shapes with the d-pad and buttons why on earth would you if you have a touch-screen and stylus at your disposal?
Just about as plain as they come with very little front-end presentation but still does the job.
In a word: Terrible. Move on...
Some games are perfectly suited to the stylus/touch-screen combination and Neves is undoubtedly one of them. The ability to move your shapes into position quickly and accurately is essential to the flow of the game especially when you are against the clock. There's even an excellent on-screen tutorial before it all kicks off just so you push, flip and rotate all the pieces.
Neves' greatest selling point is the fact that it really is a 'pick up and play' title. The greatest recommendation probably comes from my mother who has been searching for an alternative to Brain Training. Five minutes with this and she was hooked. It has heaps of puzzles too, not to mention an almost perfectly pitched learning curve. Possibly the only drawback is the fact that this is essentially a single game. Yes, it has a handful of options to allow you to attack the puzzles in a number of different ways but you are still essentially doing the same thing. Let's hope the retail price reflects this though because if it costs more than Ã‚Â£20 you can knock 2 points off my score straight away.
Pro: Easy to Pick Up, Loads of Puzzles.
Con: Terrible Music, Very Addictive.
Final score: 7.9
|Developer:||YUKE's Company of America|