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First Impressions: MadStone

Posted by Corbie Dillard

It's no secret that the WiiWare service has seen quite a long line of puzzle releases since its inception, so news of yet another upcoming puzzler will likely draw more than a few sighs from Wii owners. But after playing a preview build of RiverMan Media's upcoming WiiWare puzzler MadStone, we have to say that you might want to give this game a try before you write it off as just another lame attempt to cash in on the WiiWare service.

The premise of MadStone revolves around the idea of smashing through piles of crumbling ruins in an attempt to get your Madstones into the Energy Pool located beneath the ruins. You hold the Wii Remote sideways and use the D-Pad to move a cursor around the various blocks of your playing field. You can then press the "2" button to smash the block your cursor is currently located on. Some blocks only require one hit to break whereas stronger blocks require two hits. Occasionally you'll come across Bomb Blocks that you can hit to take out an entire row of blocks at one time.

As you begin to get your Madstones into the Energy Pool, you can then start chaining combos of Madstones into the pool. The more Madstones you can get into the Energy Pool one right after the other, the more combos you can rack up. These combos will then fill your Quake Gauge, which allows you to shake the Wii Remote in order to start an earthquake that will begin breaking many of the blocks in your playing field at once. This will in turn rack up even more combos thus refilling your Quake Gauge. It's this careful blend of moves that will determine who wins the match.

You play against either the CPU or another opponent in a two-player game and the goal is to get more Madstones into the Energy Pool than your opponent. The Circle Gauge at the top of the screen will show which player is currently in the lead. The first player to get the Circle Gauge filled with their color wins. This might sound easy, but can prove to be quite tricky when two people of equal skill square off with one another.

The control in the game is extremely easy to pick up and proves to be a lot of fun given the fact that you'll spend a lot of time shaking the Wii Remote like crazy. Add in the competitive nature of the game and things can get really intense and crazy when both players begin to rack up combos simultaneously.

One incredibly useful feature in MadStone is the tutorial. Not only does it guide you step-by-step through the basics of the game, it also provides you with some useful tips to mastering some of the more advanced techniques found in the game. In a world where many puzzlers just throw you into the game head first, it's nice to see a game take the time to explain in detail how the game is played.

Visually, MadStone is quite solid for a puzzler. While the overall structure of things is still basic, all of the blocks and Madstones are very well constructed and show a lot of detail for a game of this type. The game is also broken down into individual areas that each feature their own unique visual styling to keep things interesting. The game even throws you different types of Madstones each time out to further avoid any type of monotony.

The music in MadStone is also top notch. It features a very orchestrated sound, and many tunes sound more like they belong in an RPG than a puzzle game given their smooth and melodic rhythms. There are a few tracks that feature a slightly more upbeat tempo to them, but for the most part the music stays fairly calm which allows the game's sound effects to shine. The rumbling that takes place each time the player shakes the Wii Remote is particularly impressive, especially when both players are shaking their Wii Remotes at the same time. Couple all of this with the constant sound of ruins crumbling in full Dolby Surround Sound and what you get is one very impressive audio experience, especially considering this is a puzzle game.

In a genre that's quickly turning out more copycat clones than original material, it's nice to see a developer bringing something fresh and unique to the WiiWare service. Sure it's nothing that's going to revolutionize the puzzle genre, but there are enough new game play ideas to make the game worth trying. The hectic pacing of the competitions gives the game some added intensity that you won't find in many other puzzlers, so that alone should give you enough incentive to at least give the game some consideration when it's finally released on the WiiWare service. It's certainly much better than some of the lackluster puzzle efforts that have popped up on the WiiWare service recently.

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User Comments (41)

Clayfrd

#2

Clayfrd said:

Hmm... Looks cool. I was so close to first post! I'd say this isn't your average puzzler.

CorbsAdmin

#3

Corbs said:

I found this quite entertaining and a real breath of fresh air in the WiiWare puzzle genre. I'm not a huge puzzler fan personally, but I'm definitely interested in this one now. :)

JoshZTP

#5

JoshZTP said:

I've been very interested in this game, MadStone, since I first heard about it... and unlike the lame exccuss of Plattchen Twist or any thing else... MadStone probably won't dissapoint and if people don't mock it if it ever comes to that it'll get a low review score (so crosses fingers that it doesn't)! ;)

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

My avatar is a monster called a "Facer" from the Dragon Quest Monster 1 and 2 games.

Clayfrd

#7

Clayfrd said:

Umm... if you're talking about the one at the top, it looks pretty good. Nice job.

worrybomb

#9

worrybomb said:

There's definitely quite a number of puzzlers for the WiiWare service. I'm definitely digging Groovin' Blocks and Dr. Mario. Madstone didn't look so interesting in my eyes before but I think that might have changed thanks to the screenshots. Heck I had the same feelings when I saw Puzzle Quest for the first time and now I love it.

Is there a price set for Madstone yet? Also (unrelated) it looks like I have my own avatar without me knowing it. I guess it kind of fits my name. =P Thanks to whoever gave me it!

Chipmunk777

#10

Chipmunk777 said:

I think this probably won't sell well. The puzzle game wiiware market is over-saturated. As a side note, the title makes me think of Powerstone. Which makes me miss my Dreamcast :(

Kenji510

#11

Kenji510 said:

Im waitin for this game to come out to the wiiware after seein the videos of it and hopefully soon, looks cool and fun to play!.. it would be cool if this came out next week. :D

Virus

#12

Virus said:

I probably won't be getting this game myself, but it does look like it could appeal to an audience looking for a more quick-paced puzzler.

CorbsAdmin

#13

Corbs said:

It kinda had a frantic pace that reminded me a bit of Meteos. Definitely a nice change of pace from some of the slower puzzlers of late.

Virus

#14

Virus said:

Would you say it has the potential of being as good as Meteos though?

Twilight_Crow

#15

Twilight_Crow said:

This one looks good, but I already have too many puzzlers in my wii, and for competition and quick pace nothing like Puzzle League, still, I'll wait for the review, but it needs to be really awsome for me to buy it.

CorbsAdmin

#16

Corbs said:

@ Virus - I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but it's got a heck of a lot of potential. It's got that competitive intensity that Meteos has that makes playing 2-player a lot of fun. This game came out of nowhere for me. I didn't expect much from looking at screenshots. I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover. This could be a real sleeper hit for the WiiWare service.

Virus

#17

Virus said:

Well, darn, you had me excited for a moment. ;)

From your impressions, it does sound like the game has quite a bit of potential, but I'll still hold out on purchasing the game unless it does become the "Meteos-like" game on WiiWare.

CorbsAdmin

#18

Corbs said:

Meteos is my all-time favorite puzzler, so it would be hard for me to say that ANY puzzle game is as good as it is. I wouldn't even put Lumines up in the same league as Meteos. :)

Virus

#19

Virus said:

Amen to that! It's a pity that Xbox Live is receiving a variation of Meteos and WiiWare isn't (at least for now). If I wasn't a Nintendo fanboy through and through, I'd be looking into getting an Xbox 360 right about now...

CorbsAdmin

#20

Corbs said:

Especially since with the use of the Wii Remote, a Meteos-like game would be a perfect fit. As I've said, I'm not a huge puzzler fan, but every so often I come across one that I just love. Meteos is one of them. :)

calculon

#21

calculon said:

Sounds pretty good - probably a 7/10 game. Not sure that it's an essential purchase for me but I'd buy it should there be nothing else that interests me.

tantrumario

#23

tantrumario said:

it's better than another recently released puzzler. I wonder what that could be. /sarcasm

Ian_Daemon

#27

Ian_Daemon said:

And RiverMan Media says the puzzle genre isn't crowded on WiiWare. Yeah right. Have they seen it lately? I know people can argue that RiverMan Media spends its time working on MadStone, but is it really a good idea to comment on things you know nothing about? Wait a minute... isn't that what I'm doing? Kinda...

siavm

#29

siavm said:

This games style and graphics look bad to me. So unless this game is as fun as some of the other puzzle games I have in wiiware, I will just skip this title.

Objection

#30

Objection said:

You know what's like the only puzzle game I'd buy if it came out for Wiiware? PuzzleQuest! But I already have it (for DS) and Magnetica Twist (so good), so developers, if you please, make some non-puzzle games. How about some more platformers, huh?

Naturestee

#31

Naturestee said:

It could be interesting, but I'm worried that powerups might be too powerful if you get to do the shake thing a lot. I'll wait and see if the gameplay balances out. Although I already have one falling block game that's totally addictive- Groovin' Blocks is awesome!

Objection Blaster, Puzzle Quest came out as a retail release for the Wii and has two more retail release versions coming. :)

Final_Starman

#32

Final_Starman said:

I've been excited about this game since the interview with RiverMan Media.
• block puzzler that isn't a Tetris Clone…
• Meteos rocks…
• mainly two player…
• something else…

Looks like a winner to me! :-)

Kawaiipikachu

#33

Kawaiipikachu said:

I be waiting for this game for release here in Australia as it looks intreastin .

While many WiiWare puzzlers may reseamble a pile of soft brown mushie substance at least a few of them are pretty good .

Digiki

#34

Digiki said:

Looks fun but I'm not really a puzzle fan. I'm thinking it'll get an 8

mailanbr

#35

mailanbr said:

I saw this earlier. It seems interesting and all, but I am not really that into all these WiiWare puzzle games. Only a certain few catch my eye, and even those arent really bought. I am just gonna wait for Tetris Party.

Ricardo91

#39

Ricardo91 said:

I dig this game's art style, but it looks a little repetitive. Methinks it'll score a 7.

jolyrojr

#41

jolyrojr said:

I liked the other games ive played from Riverman Media. I really like how wiiware allows smaller companies to sell to a global market.

RMM has a nice art style, it looks really fun 2 player. When I buy this game, I am probably going to give my wii more action than it has seen in months. Most importantly, I think my wife will really like it, and it may be another game I can use to get her to be more of a gamer.

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