Suckers for Bejeweled-style puzzle games are in for a treat with Nintendo’s Spin Six, a game based off that game's fundamental design with a numerical twist. Like other puzzles games in the past, it’s a simple design with lots of replayability but the addicting puzzle mechanics and the cheerful presentation screams “Nintendo,” and ends up being lots of fun.
Spin Six works like this: each puzzle is split into a giant rectangular box with cubes filling the interior. Instead of matching shapes with only a two-directional move, you rotate a block of four cubes in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, similar to Bejeweled Twist. The difference is this: say you wanted to join the number 3, you would then have to join three of them together. The same with 4, you would have to connect four of them in sequence. You can also rotate other cubes while your past match is still processing which is called a chain. The more chains you create the higher your score goes.
It’s a clever match-style design that eventually becomes devilishly difficult. There’s a lot of varying modes to choose from like Time Attack or Puzzle, but once you get past the beginning stages you’re quickly thrown into tougher scenarios. The Puzzle mode, which only gives you one opportunity to nail all of the numbers in one consecutive chain, is probably the most enjoyable as it tests your patience as well as your skill. The other modes are pretty fun too, but many of them will become so difficult you may want to only do a couple of puzzles per day.
When you boot up the game for the first time it lacks a mandatory tutorial, instead, Nintendo opted to have it buried at the bottom of the main menu. This is an odd design choice because of the complexity of the varying puzzles. If you happen to choose the tutorial it’s quick, straight-to-the-point and informative; you’ll likely get the hang of the game pretty quickly, and none of the fundamental gameplay is difficult to understand.
Another odd design choice was to completely ignore the touch screen as Spin Six only uses the button and directional pad. Such a fast-paced, quick-thinking puzzle game succeeds with good touch screen control but the game doesn’t use it, not even for the menus. Though this was only a small gripe in terms of its overall production, as the game still works perfectly fine without it. In fact, they may have got rid of the touch screen control entirely because the buttons are far easier to use.
Spin Six has a quirky presentation that almost seems like a WarioWare game in terms of craziness. After you complete some of the puzzle-oriented levels, characters like to spill out random facts about the earth. Did you know that an ant can have up to 200 small naps per day? Like a Snapple bottle cap, the things Spin Six teaches you are completely random, but they are fun to read. The visuals are bright and colourful while the puzzles have a sharp design. The game also features a cheerful soundtrack with appropriately absurd sound effects.
Spin Six could’ve used a good online leaderboard system to compare scores and times with friends, but you can still keep track of your scores offline. There’s also quite a bit of puzzles to complete, plus there are many difficulty settings for every mode.
Bejeweled-style puzzle games are addictive, and Spin Six is a very good example of why. It offers a lot of clever, time-sucking modes that may surprise you with their complexity. And though the game may not be outstanding in any specific area of its overall production, Spin Six is still well worth 500 Points.