Game Review

The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

A beary good game

We've already seen the first Tales of Bearsworth Mansion release make use of a tower defence-style gameplay mechanic, but now Square-Enix is mixing things up a bit with Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages, the second game in the series and a game that uses the same bear-tossing element of the first release but takes things into a more puzzle-oriented direction.

The main goal in each level is to toss your bear units near pieces of red candy that are located around each area. Your bears will then pick up the candy and complete the level. While this starts out rather easy, the game will soon begin to make things more difficult by placing the candy in places that will require you to solve puzzles in order to get to them. You'll also receive medals based upon how many bear units you have left at the end of each level, so how you use your squad also becomes a big part of your success throughout the game, especially if you want to unlock the Endless Story mode.

Tossing your units into play is as easy as flicking the Wii Remote. You aim your directional arrow by twisting the Wii Remote left and right; once you see the arrow pointing in the direction you wish to toss, you lock in by pressing the A or B button and flick the Wii Remote up. The harder you flick, the farther your bear will travel before hitting the ground running. This accuracy becomes more integral once you begin playing levels that require you to land units on specific ledges or hit and activate switches. It's quite tricky, but you'll begin executing it accurately with a little practice and timing.

You'll find the puzzle elements a bit trickier as you progress through the various chapters of the book. You begin the game basically using your bear-tossing skills alone to reach the pieces of red candy needed to complete the level, but soon you'll be forced to destroy wooden boxes with bombs, activate switches and even use See-Saw Trees to catapult your bears to hard-to-reach candy. You'll even have elemental spells at your disposal like fire to ignite the bombs and water to put out fires that could possibly burn up your paper bears. It's figuring out the best way to solve each area's puzzle that becomes the key to conquering the levels using the least number of teddy soldiers.

The simple and responsive controls give the game a very smooth and playable feel, and even switching between speciality items and units feels quite intuitive and easy to do. The timing and feel of tossing the bear units is something that takes a little practice and getting used to, but that's part of the learning curve that proves to be so much fun as you slowly figure out how to get your units to each piece of candy. You'll even find that there are generally several ways to solve a level and finding the one that requires the least number of bear units becomes the biggest part of the challenge.

From a presentation standpoint, the game is hit or miss for the most part. While you'll be treated to some beautifully detailed visuals in the opening scenes, the levels themselves tend to be a bit bland and lack the same level of detail used in the opening sections of the game. It's certainly not a deal-breaker, but giving players a treat at the beginning of the game and then taking some of it away seems a bit odd. Luckily the game's audio presentation remains impressive throughout the game, so it ends up picking up a lot of the slack from the game's rather uninspired visual performance.

Conclusion

Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages takes a fairly simple Wii Remote tossing gameplay element and weaves a rather creative storybook adventure around it. While not quite as immersive as the tower-defence style gameplay of Chaotic Conflicts, the game's unique puzzle elements do offer up a nice change of pace from the other Tales of Bearsworth Manor release. Ultimately it will depend on what type of gameplay you prefer, but in all honesty, you can't really go wrong with either release as both have plenty of fun to offer you for your 1,000 Wii Points.

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User Comments (14)

Darkmire

#5

Darkmire said:

I fell into their DLC with My Life as a King and Darklord and ended up really enjoying them. It was worth it for me. When you have extra points, it's nice to be able to add something to your game.

EdEN

#6

EdEN said:

You don't HAVE to get the DLC, it's just an option. For me, I'm loving the way SE has done DLC on Wiiware. I always get the extra dungeons/levels and sometimes get extra items or characters but have never felt I HAD to get them to get "the full experience". I like having a choice.

WolfRamHeart

#7

WolfRamHeart said:

That tagline is unbearable.;)

I actually might give one of these two game a download but only after I get Jett Rocket and Pearl Harbor. I won't be getting any of the DLC but it sounds like the game is still pretty fun without it. Thanks for the reviews on both of these games Corbie.:)

Majora

#8

Majora said:

@Darkmire @EdEN

  • Chaotic Conflict additional levels: 600 Wii points
  • Puzzling Pages additional levels: 1500 Wii points.
  • The Tales of Bearsworth Manor full experience: 3100 Wii points, with no extra units.
  • Cave Story + Lost Winds + Lost Winds 2 (make your own combination of great WiiWare games) full experience: 3200 Wii points.

I purchased My Life as a King and My Life as a Darklord (great games both), but need to buy expensive DLC for really play full game. Same with my beloved (and very expensive too) Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Never more.

Sorry, but for me is a fraud.

Caliko

#9

Caliko said:

In My Life as a Darklord you HAD to buy the DLC to complete the game.

Darkmire

#10

Darkmire said:

Actually, yeah. I've heard that about My Life as a Darklord. I haven't beaten it yet, but I got a little DLC and it made the game a lot more enjoyable for me, and a little easier. But it's still hard either way, imo. :p But I think SE's WiiWare games have been of a higher quality than most games on the service and are worth a little extra (or just getting the barebones version is worth it). When I clear some backlog and have the points, I'm getting one of the Bearsworth games.

EdEN

#11

EdEN said:

FF IV: The After Years has DLC that feels more like "episodes" than just extra levels or units.

I'll get both Bearsworth games and probably all the extra levels if I like them enough. See no problem with buying more levels to increase how long the game will end up being for me.

oinkmooblah

#12

oinkmooblah said:

I beat Darklord without any DLC... It definitely required patience, but it was far from impossible...

EdEN

#14

EdEN said:

Also, FF IV: The After Years with all the episodes is only $37 and since I paid $70 for FF IV on the SNES...

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