Review: Puffins: Let's Roll! (DSiWare)

Let's not

It's kind of a bummer when games come out with controls that just don't fit the platform. This wasn't much of a problem a mere generation ago, but with the plethora of options today ranging from button to motion and touch it's become more prevalent an issue. Other Ocean, behind the excellent Dark Void Zero, has fallen into this very trap with its latest DSiWare release Puffins: Let's Roll and as a result ruins what we would imagine to be an otherwise entertaining game.

Everything about Puffins screams "accelerometer." At its heart a labyrinth game, the controls would feel much more intuitive had they been tilt-based. Instead, pushing the egg around is done by swiping the stylus in the direction you’d like to go while the D-Pad controls the camera. Unfortunately this doesn't work very well: the egg has the momentum of a glue-covered brick, which makes little sense when you consider that a real puffin egg is not much larger than a chicken’s. Either the egg contains the fattest puffin known to puffinity or the divine power pushing it just can't be bothered. Once you do get the egg up to a reasonable speed by scraping the screen like mad then you’ll likely be going too fast to avoid obstacles, and sending eggs into too many rocks and trees is a good way to make a baby puffin cry.

The control issues are unfortunate because they stymie any desire to get through all of the content, which happens to include quite a bit to do. Each stage challenges you to earn medals depending on how quick you can reach the end goal, or you can also try to collect as many fish icons scattered about the stage as possible during a time limit. There are a good amount of stages to work through, but they become just that: work.

Conclusion

Puffins are undeniably cute little critters, but slapping them on a labyrinth game with shoddy, mismatched controls won’t cover up the fact that it’s just not that fun. Had movement been easier or more intuitive then we could give it a recommendation, but for now it's clear that this is a poor fit for DS.

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