There's nothing inherently wrong with simplicity. When used well, a minimalist approach can be a refreshing way to get back to gaming basics; the recent 50 Pinch Barrage!!, which charmed us with its intuitive and straightforward approach to Pitfall-style platforming, stands as an excellent example of this. However, with the popularity of mobile games at an all-time high, there's concern among some that the appeal of the simple is being traded in for the tedium of the simplistic. PENTAPUZZLE, the latest in all-caps entertainment from RCMADIAX, unfortunately serves as another example of the latter: a nice foundation for a game that does little to rise above the established baseline.

PENTAPUZZLE plays somewhat like the classic jigsaw puzzle: in each level, you're given a different group of pentominoes — think of Tetris blocks, only with five squares instead of four — and must configure them in such a way that allows them to match up to a set of tiles. You accomplish this by moving, rotating, and horizontally flipping the shapes over the tiles until you find an arrangement that works. For the first five difficulty levels the tile sets are all rectangular; the challenge comes from actually getting the different pentomino shapes to match up. In the 15 "special" levels, though, things get a little bit more interesting — here, the tiles come in more unusual layouts resembling animals and such.

Overall, the gameplay here is pretty one-note, although it's clear from the design that it wasn't aspiring to be much more than that in the first place. Within the scope of its own limited ambition the title accomplishes its objectives fairly well. With the exception of a single glitch encountered during play — which resulted in the level not ending despite the puzzle being completed — there isn't much to complain about.

All that being said, there wasn't a whole lot that stood out as worthy of praise, either. This title represents the same kind of simplistic, unsophisticated entertainment that the Nintendo Web Framework has become synonymous with since an influx of titles using the service stormed the gates of the eShop last year. If you're in the market for this type of thing, PENTAPUZZLE will serve your purposes quite well; just know that you could easily find comparable software with much more content for less elsewhere.

As you might expect from a simple game of this ilk, the aesthetics on display are functional and little more. The pixelart style of the pentominoes and tiles is pleasant on the eyes, and the simple menu is colourful and easy to navigate. There are sound effects for picking up and dropping shapes, which is kind of nice, but have your own music prepared to play in the background — the constantly looping electronic music will make your ears bleed after the first time through.


It's hard to fault PENTAPUZZLE on a functional level — everything you need to have a mildly amusing time is present and accounted for. With that said, we'd caution you to think hard before spending the launch price of $4.49 on something this middling; there are other options that offer similar experiences for very little, and some of them with a lot more content.