Review: Art Style: NEMREM (DSiWare)

The latest instalment in the Art Style Series - NEMREM.

As soon as you fire up the game you're greeted with a visually very pleasing welcome screen that demonstrates a great example of the unique graphical style we have come to expect from the Art Style series. On the stage selection screen something resembling Morse code is “played” in the background, and although this doesn’t seem to serve any deeper purpose it gives the game a very quirky if not slightly unnerving feeling. It’s these small touches that give the Art Style series an edge of originality and quality not seen in many puzzle games. As always an instruction manual is available in order to get acquainted with the game’s controls and objectives. Although this is arguably a tad superfluous as the game has simple controls and an even simpler goal. Nevertheless a tutorial is also available which demonstrates the game in action.

Nintendo describes the game as a “relaxing logic puzzle where the objective is to match coloured panels with spheres of the same colour”. In the early levels the challenge is minimal as the player is tasked with matching up spheres and tiles of only one colour, creating a gentle introduction to the mechanics of NEMREM. This gentle pace does not last however as multiple colours are quickly introduced, creating a somewhat more intellectually taxing experience and indeed the limited number of “allowed moves” can make some levels pretty difficult! Furthermore the game later introduces “locked panels” which limit the way in which the player can move panels. Each game world contains nine puzzles, each of course with increasing difficulty.

The game is played using only the stylus and it’s pretty much as simple as it sounds: tiles are slid in order to match coloured panels up to the corresponding coloured spheres. The Art Style series has been praised for its high quality sound effects and music and NEMREM continues this level of quality with some pretty chilled background tracks which go perfectly with the laidback nature of the game. One of the main problems with certain puzzle games is that a long puzzle will often become quite infuriating with its music being looped over and over. The music in NEMREM is far from complicated in its melodic arrangement, yet at the same time it's entirely pleasant to listen to, so you needn’t worry about having to turn the sound down in order to finish a particularly strenuous puzzle. To surmise the sound in NEMREM is pretty much awesome and complements the game perfectly.


Overall NEMREM is an excellent addition to the Art Style series as well as a welcome addition to the DSiWare service. The game features simple, intuitive gameplay and clean, “to the point” graphics. The sound and music in the game is perfect and the game mechanics are simple enough to offer quick sessions of play, and are addictive enough that you could be hooked for hours. Some sort of multiplayer mode would have been a nice addition although this is perhaps not entirely necessary or even suitable for the type of game NEMREM is, namely a strong solo puzzler. It's fair to say that NEMREM has a great deal of replayability as completing certain puzzles under the assigned restrictions can be pretty challenging, especially in later puzzles. For the 500 Nintendo points asking price NEMREM is most definitely a bargain and a must for any fan of the puzzle genre.

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