(WiiWare)

Lonpos (WiiWare)

Game Review

Lonpos Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Sean McDermott

Does this WiiWare puzzler have what it takes to stand out from the crowd?

Having been available since WiiWare launched in Japan, Lonpos' Western release has been a long time coming. The game itself has been adapted from a popular logic puzzle game of the same name. The question, of course, is how well does it fare against the many puzzle titles already on WiiWare?

At its core, Lonpos is a pretty basic puzzle game. To complete a stage, the player is required to simply manipulate a set number of shapes (known as Pentominoes) so that they can be successfully placed onto a rectangular 2-dimensional grid that houses an increasingly smaller number of shapes already integrated. Taking the role of the singular controller, the Wii remote’s motion controls and IR pointer are used to carry out any change to a shape.

Each Pentomino can be rotated in 90° intervals by tilting the remote left or right, whereas pressing and holding the “B” button grabs the shape. Once a shape is seized, the player can move the remote to place it in a vacant position on the grid, or drop it at the side of the grid so the player can attempt to fit another piece. And that’s pretty much it, except for the use of the “– “ button which returns your chosen Pentomino to its starting position on the side of the grid and the “A” button which flips your shape. Anyone who has played the puzzle game before will know how well Lonpos works, and how addictive it is; it’s no different here.

As well as the standard single player mode where you simply play through levels of increasing difficulty, a more challenging "continuous" mode is also available, which asks the player to complete stages without putting any piece in the wrong order on the grid. Additionally, Lonpos features cooperative (2 players) and versus (2-4 players) multiplayer modes. The former mode involves two players taking turns to place a piece in the correct position until the puzzle is completed whereas the latter consists of either competing for the best finish time or highest score. Both modes are executed well but aren’t different enough from the single player mode to act as much more than a distraction. A nice feature of the game is the ability to compare your own personal stats to see how you rank up against the best, with the ability to challenge your friends via Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection also an option.

Visually, Lonpos looks distinctly average, and is pretty much what you’d expect considering it’s a puzzle game played on the exact same grid for every stage. As a result of this, the interface can quickly become very boring and you’ll definitely want a change of scenery, which unfortunately the game just won’t provide. Likewise, Lonpos’ menu screens are just as basic and provide the bare minimum of options. Furthermore, a quite perplexing omission from the game is widescreen support. Similarly basic is the game’s soundtrack, which, during games, features similar-sounding tunes repeating over and over again. The tracks suit the nature of the game but after hearing them for the umpteenth time it’s sure to drive you up the wall. Considering that each stage involves doing the exact same thing a few extra tracks ought to have been thrown in to mix up the mood.

Lonpos offers several downloadable content packs, all of which can be purchased from within the game’s virtual store. The developer has seen fit to charge a hefty 500 Wii points per pack. Considering the price of Lonpos is only 300 points more and each pack consists of new levels and alternative backgrounds, the asking price for the DLC is a bit extravagant. If you want to experience all that the game has to offer you’ll need to shell out a significant number of your beloved points; it would have made much more sense to include all of the content with the game and perhaps charge 1000 points instead of 800. We honestly can't see many people shelling out the cash for these packs.

The main problem we have with the game lies in its standard control system. Tilting the Wii remote to rotate shapes is a bit too fiddly for a game that requires as much trial and error as Lonpos does. On more than one occasion (most likely when you're just starting to play the game) you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated with the sensitivity of the controller tilts: the game engine too frequently finds it difficult to judge how you want your rotations to translate on-screen. However, an alternative control scheme in the form of holding the Wii remote horizontally and using only the buttons is available, accessed from the pause menu at any point. Another issue with Lonpos is the price: 800 Wii points is too much to part with considering how simple the game is, and greater variety really should have been provided to account for the cost.

Conclusion

Lonpos’ transition to WiiWare is a faithful rendition of the logic puzzle game, and there’s no doubt that the gameplay is as addictive as ever. Fairly minor flaws in the default control scheme and an overall lack of variety in presentation hold it back from being in the same league as the best of WiiWare’s puzzle titles, but if you’re a fan of the genre and won’t mind increasingly difficult puzzles using the same formula, there’s definitely fun to be had here. Ultimately though, Lonpos does very little to make itself stand out from the abundance of alternative WiiWare puzzlers and the price doesn’t quite justify what’s on offer here.

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User Comments (28)

Terra

#1

Terra said:

Good review Sean.

Shame the game doesn't offer for your money and i don't think many people would buy many DLC packs at 500 points each, which is where it seems to be the game's main problem. If it were say, 200-300 points for each pack, that would be more worth it as people won't generally pay 500 when they can get a budget WiiWare title or a great NES/SMS/C64(In Europe) game for the same price that's probably a much better game. Oh well.

This is why i think that it should have been a retail budget title with all the DLC already packed in. Maybe have additional DLC on occasions at a cheaper price unless it contained more than 25 puzzles. That would have been better

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#2

Philip_J_Reed said:

How come the only games to use Wi-Fi are the ones I'm not interested in buying? :-P

Great review though...I'll just invest the money in a VC game.

Nickname

#3

Nickname said:

Hmmm just as I expected, nothing worth buying...unfortunately for WiiWare...

Bahamut_ZERO

#5

Bahamut_ZERO said:

Nice review. I hope this does poorly sales wise to help stop devs from putting out all puzzle games on WW.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#6

Philip_J_Reed said:

@Bahamut:

Let's just hope that if the game does poorly, developers don't come to the conclusion that WiiWare on the whole is a waste of their time. We know the platform is overwhelmed with puzzle games, but I wonder if most developers bother to research it even that far.

EJD

#7

EJD said:

I expected this to get a 6, I'll save my points for the next update. WiiWare has enough puzzlers already, it would be nice to see something different.

Wiiloveit

#8

Wiiloveit said:

I hope this does poorly sales wise
That's an awful thing to wish upon any game, unless it truly is absolute pap that took a couple of weeks to design and develop. Games developers have to make a living too, you know.

KnucklesSonic8

#9

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Well, I'm happy to hear this game DOES have Online Play.
Not so happy about the direction with the Pay-and-Play Service... it reminds me of SIGE...

I hope Lonpos' price tag will be reasonable when it hits NA. I'd REALLY appreciate 500/600 Points but if it's 800, I'll settle. If it's 1000, I'm not getting it.

I thought this would fare a bit better considering how long it took to finally get on the service outside of Japan and the fact that Nintendo is overseeing the project. Oh well...

Would you classify this as the worst WiiWare from Nintendo? (Not saying it's horrible, just maybe not as good as the others?)

Can anyone give more details about the Online Mode? I would've liked to see that in the Review. Otherwise, the review told me what I needed to know. The control-scheme is something I can get used to, no worries. I bet it's something like SMBBB where many complained and yet I was one of many who loved the control scheme and got used to it.

Still don't get why we should pay for DLC for things that should've been in the game in the first place, just like SIGE and FFCCMLK. It doesn't seem fair and if anything, they're squeezing money out of us....

Terra

#10

Terra said:

Still don't get why we should pay for DLC for things that should've been in the game in the first place, just like SIGE and FFCCMLK. It doesn't seem fair and if anything, they're squeezing money out of us....

Interesting to note that they're both Square-Enix games. The remakes are one attempt to squeeze money but outside WiiWare, i can't think of any proper SE games which are big or fairly big on DLC, Maybe we're just stuck with it, as i haven't seen much outside WiiWare for Square with DLC.

Out of curiosity and a bit off-topic but does SI: GE have co-op?

Objection

#12

Objection said:

If I had any say, I'd make this game 500 with DLC that is 200 pts each. Then people might actually buy it. Its not a horrible game by far from what I have read, just a very overpriced one.

Adamant

#14

Adamant said:

@zoipi: "I didnt's spected this to be very good... At least is decent."

What? It does exactly what it claims to do - apart from it having a really horrible interface that would reduce the score, there's no reason how this couldn't be "decent". A single look at a single screenshot of the game pretty much tells you all there is to know about it.
It's up to each individual to determine whether a lonpos game is worth the asking price or not. This isn't a game that really requires a review for people to make up their mind.

BulbasaurusRex

#16

BulbasaurusRex said:

No, SIGE doesn't have multiplayer, but at least that game has a lot more variety with more exciting gameplay than Lonpos in its DLC.

Bass_X0

#17

Bass_X0 said:

#10: Same reason you have to pay more for a first class plane ticket despite first class being on the same plane as lower classes. If you get my analogy.

shadows262

#18

shadows262 said:

Yet theres another puzzle game on the wiiware service and yet another puzzle game I'm not gonna get.

Objection_Blaster wrote:
I'd make this game 500 with DLC that is 200 pts each.
-Yeah then that actually might attract more people to the game(even me maybe) and the developer might mke better money but knowing these developers latley on the wiiware service they wouldnt use this common sense.

Kenji510

#19

Kenji510 said:

Lets just say that hope we dont get this game since the EU doesnt like the game at all and its a waste of money to buy it too especially the download contents as well. :p

Omega

#20

Omega said:

When I look at these simple puzzle games, I always feel as if I had seen them before on the PC or PDA. As Freeware.

-TR

#21

-TR said:

Intresting concept.

One that's been done to death in 'Real Life' products.

DAFOLI

#22

DAFOLI said:

I have made the mistake and bought this game before this review! The game is descent, below average for a puzzle game, and definitely not worth its prize. As far as the DLC is concerned unacceptable (if you ever succeed in connecting with the game's 'virtual shop'.

Rawk_Hawk

#25

Rawk_Hawk said:

I considered getting this game but the cost of the DLC is too much. In the end I'll wait for Pop them Drop them because I think it's a better value.

KnucklesSonic8

#26

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Interesting... That's reflected in the fact that it's not in the Top 20 too. Not that I expected it to show up or anything. :P

megatron

#27

megatron said:

i'd get this if it was cheaper. it looks like something i would enjoy. but it also looks like something i would regret spending so much money on.
i second the suggestion to make the game maybe 1000 points and include everything, or make the game and the packs cheaper.
i've been feeling a little ripped off with some of my wiiware purchases lately, so i have become extra cautious about what i buy and how much i spend.

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