(WiiWare)

NEVES Plus (WiiWare)

Game Review

NEVES Plus Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does this age-old puzzler still have what it takes?

Silhouette puzzles have been around since the early 18th century, and chances are if you're old enough to read this article, you're likely to have played one at some point in your life. The original Neves, which built an entire retail title around these silhouette puzzles, was released on the Nintendo DS system almost two years ago. Unfortunately, the high price tag for such a simple puzzle game proved to be a huge obstacle for the title at retail, but now the developers of the game have put together a WiiWare version and priced it at a much more reasonable 600 Nintendo Points. But does this centuries-old puzzle game still have enough gas left in the tank to make it worth your while on the WiiWare service?

While there are quite a few variations on the silhouette puzzle available in Neves Plus, it's the Puzzle mode that will feel the most familiar to fans of the classic game. You're presented with a silhouette shape and you must then somehow fit all seven polygonal tiles into the silhouette. You can move the tiles around freely using the Wii Remote pointer and you can even flip and rotate them using the D-pad. You'll have to put on your thinking cap if you're going to figure out how to accurately squeeze all seven tiles into each silhouette puzzle, and to make things even more challenging, the game even tosses some good old-fashioned dust into the equation. As you move tiles over the silhouette itself, this will kick up dust which can make it tough to see how the tile will fit. This will require you to slow down your movements a bit in order to kick up less dust, but will ultimately save you some time if you make the effort.

As you complete the puzzles, you'll be allowed to move on the next one or head back to the main puzzle menu and select a specific puzzle from the list of around 50 silhouettes, each of which has its own unique name. You can even choose from four different rooms each containing three different difficulty levels, if you're finding the puzzles too easy or too difficult to complete, offering up more than 600 different silhouette puzzles to take on in total. You'll be timed on each puzzle and awarded a specific medal based on how quickly you're able to complete the puzzle, which provides a nice incentive to go back and try to achieve a faster time and even better medal.

The next variation is the Speed mode. This mode is almost identical to the Puzzle mode except this time you're timed on your choice of 10, 20, or even 50 levels in a row, instead of each level individually. You're also given a bit of a headstart on each puzzle as a portion of the puzzle will already be completed for you when you begin the level. This is more of a speed rally to see how quickly you can solve a select number of puzzles. The game even keeps track of your best time in each difficulty.

Party Trivia mode is where the game begins to mix things up a bit by presenting you and up to three other players with a hidden silhouette and four multiple choice answers. The hidden silhouette will slowly be unveiled one piece at a time and the first player that's able to correctly identify the item and select it from the set of multiple choice answers wins the game. The faster you're able to locate the correct answer, the more points you'll be awarded. While this mode is very different from the other silhouette challenges, it's every bit as much fun.

The Lucky Number mode is basically just another play on the main Puzzle mode, only this time you've got a time limit and each polygonal tile has a specific number inscribed on it. Each time you pick up a tile, the number on the tile decreases by one. What this means is that you need to try to pick up and place the tile in as few moves as possible in order to score the highest number of points left on the tile as you can. When the puzzle is completed, you're given points based on the sum of all numbers left on each tile. This is a great mode of play for those who find the main game a bit too slow-paced for their liking as the time limit and tallied tile moves can make for a much more intense experience overall.

Last but not least is the Versus mode, and what is truthfully the highlight of the entire package. As much fun as the relaxing Puzzle mode can be as a single-player experience, there's nothing quite like going head to head with other players in Versus mode. In this mode, 2-4 players can play the game together, with four players being split into two teams. The screen is then split right down the middle and the same basic silhouette is given to each player or team. It's then a race to see who can finish their puzzle first, and if you have four players on hand going at it, the two of you can work together in an attempt to beat the other team. Not only is this mode extremely hectic, but it's a lot of fun trying to outrace each other.

The simple Wii Remote pointer makes controlling the game very intuitive and easy to pick up, and while this particular puzzle game isn't going to win many points for originality, the age-old puzzles are still quite fun to play and with the additional gameplay modes, it adds even more variety to the overall package. The multiplayer modes add even more fun to the mix if you can round up an extra player or two to go at it in the Versus mode. At the very least it's proof that you can use a tried-and-true puzzle formula and still manage to keep the experience engaging with the right style and presentation.

The Egyptian theme makes for a great visual presentation in the game and it's clear that the developers went the extra mile to give the game a very polished look. While the main game play area itself is mostly made up of stone polygonal tiles and a silhouette, the backdrops feature beautifully drawn sarcophagi and even a few oddball characters who stand and watch you play. These characters even feature some peculiar animations every so often as you play, with the cobra being the one that's particularly funny to watch. It's just nice to see a developer put in the extra time to give the game a high visual production value, despite the fact that it's just a simple WiiWare puzzle release.

There's no denying that the Egyptian-style soundtrack is catchy and does fit in perfectly with the theme of the game, but the individual music tracks have a tendency to be repeated quite often on the default setting, which can make them a bit tiresome during long playing sessions. Luckily, the developers have included an option in the settings menu that will allow you to change the default music to random, which will give you a good variety of musical tracks during the puzzle levels. It will even change songs in mid-puzzle, if you find yourself taking a bit of extra time on any given challenge. It might seem like a small touch, but it turns out to really save what is initially a fairly repetitive musical presentation.

Conclusion

It would be easy to dismiss Neves Plus as nothing more than another feeble attempt to cash in on an age-old puzzle idea, but if you approach it with that attitude, you're likely to miss out on what is ultimately a very charming puzzle experience. It might not be the most original gaming experience out there, but it's got enough style and versatility to make it worth your 600 Nintendo Points. It's certainly a lot better than some of the more original puzzle releases we've seen on the service so far.

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User Comments (34)

CorbsAdmin

#5

Corbs said:

Mr. 7 Strikes Again!

Part of dealing with a problem is admitting that you have a problem. I can give up 7's anytime I want to. :D

Bahamut_ZERO

#8

Bahamut_ZERO said:

Corbie gave a 7. PLOT TWIST :P

I was the originator of the Corbie 7 joke back on WWW and glad to see it popularize. Maybe one day it'll be known around the net. I'll be famous :P

VGM

#9

VGM said:

Lets start now Corbie,you can't give the next Three game you review a 7. begin :)

KnucklesSonic8

#10

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Guys, this game really is great and anyone hesitating on getting this tangram-based puzzler should simply just get it. It's totally worth it for the amount of content Akinai Games has put into it.

Great informative review, Corbie. You really buckled down and didn't overlook any part of what this game has to offer and you brought it to the fore in this review whilst still highlighting the inane fun and addictiveness of the game whether played alone or in multiplayer form. And for that, you are applauded. :)

@slambert: Apparently even though I never heard of it up until this point.

Ren

#11

Ren said:

Hmm. This does look good, but only 54 shapes? there are thousands of tangram puzzles. I have a real set and a book of a few hundred puzzles to try. Why would it be hard to just include more silloutte shapes than 54?

Vendetta

#12

Vendetta said:

Great review, Corbie. I have to admit, I was in in suspense as to whether the "random" setting in the background music option was enough to get it up to an 8. I'm betting it was close!

CorbsAdmin

#13

Corbs said:

This is a very solid 7. Very nice surprise for me personally. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did enjoy it. And the multiplayer modes were a lot of fun. A great family title.

And the randomizer made a huge difference as the default music was starting to get on my nerves a bit after a few hours. :)

BrazCanaMan

#14

BrazCanaMan said:

This was a pleasant surprise, I DL'd it before the review came out and I was thinking it deserved at least an 8. A very simple yet complete and captivating puzzle game. Has anyone tried that Drill Seargant game yet? When will the review come out?
EDIT:
I had the DS version of Neves, so I kind of knew what to expect.

Pablo17

#15

Pablo17 said:

This is a nice game and a great deal for 600 points. To the person that asked, Neves DS was released in the US and goes for 10 new at gamestop.

CorbsAdmin

#16

Corbs said:

I'm working on Drill Sergeant now. Review should be up tomorrow.

BrazCanaMan

#17

BrazCanaMan said:

@Corbie
Cool! I'm really curious about it, I almost DL'd it yesterday but I decided not to because the last game I DL'd before the review came out was that Allstar Hockey Shootout... so ya, I don't do that no more.

HiroshiYamauchi

#18

HiroshiYamauchi said:

@ Ren - The game has four "rooms", each room has 3 levels, each level has nearly 50 shapes. Overall the game features about 600 shapes and that is quite a lot.

CorbsAdmin

#19

Corbs said:

Yeah I think I should have explained that better instead of assuming it was understood what I meant. There are not just 54 puzzles in all. There are around 50 in each level of each room. I'll correct that to make it more clear.

jhuhn

#20

jhuhn said:

It is a good puzzle game for 600 Wii Points, and less than 70 blocks of memory space as well.

Twilight_Crow

#21

Twilight_Crow said:

This got to be a very good puzzle game, good review Corbie, 600 silhouettes in less than 70 blocks wow, I'll put this on my wish list right away.

KeeperBvK

#22

KeeperBvK said:

I can't find an answer to the only question my decision on whether to download it or not depends on: Does this have new puzzles or just ones taken from the DS version?

HiroshiYamauchi

#23

HiroshiYamauchi said:

@ KeeperBvK
From what i can remember, mostly, or maybe all the puzzles were in the DS version, so if that's what is holding you from buying the game, i think you should pass.

indenmark

#24

indenmark said:

Isn't it time to treat 7s from Corbie as foregone conclusions, and make him "adjectify" his score. "This game is a solid 7", "I'm giving this a reluctant 7", "This is a "5 at closing time" 7", etc.?

Well, isn't it?!?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#26

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Reads more like an 8 to me and it isn't really a suprise for me. I thought the ds retail title was about an 8 as well.

CorbsAdmin

#27

Corbs said:

Really? I thought it read more like a 7.356, give or take a thousandth or two.

CorbsAdmin

#29

Corbs said:

Haven't played the DS version of the game. I have no idea if they're reused, but how would you remember them anyway? Unless you played through the game over and over again, you wouldn't remember the solutions anyway given that there are 7 tiles to fit in each time. I went back and played the first ten puzzles again and I had only played a few hours before and didn't remember the solution.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#30

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

@Corbie...LOL, oh give over! Hahahaha

Agree with what you said in the reply directly above.

I used to have the retail title and I'm still going to get this.

Vaarj

#32

Vaarj said:

Man, i love these kinda games.. really hope it comes out in Europe soon :)

EdEN

#33

EdEN said:

It's may 2010 and I'm still playing the game. I find it better to give it a go for 10-20 minutes at a time every now and then since it makes the game feel refreshing and a change of pace from whatever I was playing before it.

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