Go back to school with your Mac, iPhone and TUAW
Add to: My AOL, MyYahoo, Google, Bloglines
Joystiq presents

Gaming to Go: Planet Puzzle League

Remember Meteos? The vertical block sliding? The fast, frantic action, and the maddening tick-tock of the clock at the top of your screen? The sweeping, dramatic story of taking your alien ship into the heart of madness and bombarding it with pretty squares and blocks? The others don't understand. They couldn't possibly comprehend the bloody tears you shed for every planet lost along the way -- every warrior that stood 'til the end and mumbled something heroic in whatever freaky alien language they knew.

It's pretty intense, man. But let's talk about this game called Planet Puzzle League, shall we? It's pretty similar to Meteos, minus the ecstatic hyperbole I threw it out above. But don't let the dearth of heart-pounding plot deter you! Planet Puzzle League may forgo the charm of its extraterrestrial brother, but the title more than makes it for its lack of emotional impact with a wealth of gameplay options. It also has the distinction of being pretty much perfect for a gamer on the go, a fact which should make my job a hell of a lot easier and your wallet just a little bit lighter. Grab your penny bank, ladies and gents, and come along with this week's edition of Gaming to Go. The Puzzle League awaits.

Let's get the critical difference between Meteos and Planet Puzzle League right out in the open: the former lets you slide blocks vertical. The latter lets you slide blocks horizontal. Big deal, right? But any gamer lucky enough to have played both titles knows that such a simple change in direction affects the gameplay a great deal.

Where Meteos's alien madness forced you to keep an eye trained on the top of the screen as you flung blocks back towards the heavens, Planet Puzzle League pushes that eye down to the bottom, where rows of blocks continuously sneak up. Sliding squares left and right to make three-block combos makes said blocks disappear, dropping the above rows down in true Tetris fashion. From there you'll need to link combos together to make chains, which boost your score higher than any normal combo could. If you get impatient, you can tap a button on the side to automatically add another row at the bottom of the screen, a useful tactic whenever you're left with a bunch of mismatched squares.

It's standard puzzle fare, admittedly, but Planet Puzzle League offers the same enjoyment and speedy entertainment you've come to expect from the DS's expansive library of block-breaking games. Where this titles shines, however, is in the extra variations it offers on the formula, all of which are fun enough to be a viable choice the next time you fire the game up.

For the trash compactors among us, Garbage Challenge throws wide, impenetrable rectangles on top of your blocks, forcing you to deal with them quickly lest more stack up. The only way to break up the garbage is to make combos with the squares currently touching the garbage, at which point the trash breaks down into new blocks for you to work with. The pressure hits whenever a five column tall piece of garbage comes crashing down, forcing you to scramble about and try and figure out how in the hell you're going to match up the few same-colored pieces you have in order to save the situation.

If recycling isn't really your thing, you can always give the Puzzle mode a go, which gives you a few sets of blocks to work with and challenges you to make combos of them in order to clear the entire screen. It starts simple, but grows increasingly complex, with some later puzzles -- there's a ton -- giving you only three or four moves to clear half a screen of blocks. And once you clear the simple set, advanced puzzles await, a prospect far more terrifying than you might think. Depending on the size of that thing between your ears, puzzles like these can be a perfect way to pass the time, as they strike a fine balance between being short yet still challenging as you progress through the catalog.

Another category, appropriately titled Active Puzzles, require a little more involvement on your part, as you'll have to be quick to slide blocks around and set up combos as your previous ones are blinking out of existence. If nothing else, it serves a great way to familiarize yourself with chain-making, a skill which serves infinitely useful in racking up high scores.

Time Attack mode is also very well-suited for the busy gamer, as it gives you only two minutes to score as many points as possible in three different gameplay variations: Garbage Attack, Score Attack, and Lift Attack. Score Attack is fairly self-explanatory, challenging you to link up several combos and chains to net a high score. Lift Attack encourages vertical combos, as you'll only earn points when you add rows of blocks at the bottom of the screen.

Along those lines is the interesting Daily Play mode, which pretty much amounts to a Time Attack mode that you can only play once a day. The scores you net each day are then recorded and added to a line graph, the idea being that you can get a quick game in each day to monitor the progression of your skill. It's a nifty feature that actively encourages the pick-up-and-play lifestyle most of us adhere to, and it's also a great boost to self-esteem to see how far you've come from your god-awful beginning. Don't ask what my first Garbage Attack score was. I won't tell you.

All in all, Planet Puzzle League is an excellent package for the gamer on the go. It does lack any sort of unlockables, denying a tangible reward to the dedicated player, but the gameplay is satisfying enough in all of its variants that it makes that fact easy to overlook. And you can't go wrong with a title that actively caters to a busy lifestyle, can you? With Time Attack, Daily Play, and many other gameplay modes, Planet Puzzle League suits our time-crunched lives very well indeed.

Stat time!

Sleep time: Make sure you pause the game before you close the lid! Planet Puzzle League, unfortunately, doesn't do it for you.

Load time: Around twenty seconds to get into the game and start a match. The number drops a few seconds if you pick Daily Play, since it's conveniently located right on the main menu.

Play time: Time Attack and Daily Play are restricted to only two minutes, which make them great to pick up and play. The other modes shouldn't take more than a few minutes per round either, though be wary of letting the Puzzle mode suck you in.

Tick tock of the clock ringing in your ears? Tell your timepiece to shove it! We live busy lives, but remember this: there's always time to game. Check back with Gaming to Go every week for the latest and greatest titles you should spend your precious few minutes with.

Related Headlines

Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.

We debate the hot topics!

Upcoming Releases

Name Date
Defendin de Penguin
Sep 5
Spore Creatures
Sep 7
Mystery Case Files: Millionheir
Sep 8
Viva Pinata
Sep 8
Lock's Quest
Sep 8
Sep 16
The Force Unleashed
Sep 16
My Japanese Coach
Sep 23
LEGO Batman
Sep 23
Kirby Superstar Ultra
Sep 23
Disgaea DS
Sep 23
Time Hollow
Sep 23
SimCity Creator
Sep 23
Sonic Chronicles
Sep 30
Princess Debut
Sep 30

Popular Posts

Title More like this
DSF Review: N+
BTS: Drake and Josh Talent Show
Show N Tell: Dress the best
Show N Tell
G2G: Elite Beat Agents
Gaming to Go
DSL: Missed Connections
The DS Life
Another Week in ... (50)
Bury the Shovelware (10)
Contests / Giveaways (15)
DS Daily (530)
DS Fanboy Lite (42)
DS Fanboy poll (41)
Friday video (70)
Game Night (152)
Gaming to Go (9)
Items of Import (6)
Metareview (56)
Point/Counterpoint (4)
Promotional Consideration (57)
Show and Tell (67)
The DS Life (62)
What are you playing? (90)
Accessories (144)
Downloads (67)
Fan stuff (1412)
Features (286)
GBA (128)
Hacks (82)
Homebrew (227)
How-tos (75)
Imports (922)
Interviews (154)
Meta (131)
Mods (16)
News (3259)
Nintendo Wi-Fi (185)
Reviews (189)
Sales (195)
Screens (978)
Video (720)
Rumors (190)



Powered by Blogsmith

Featured Galleries

Show and Tell: Dress from the best
Tony Hawk's Motion
Black Tiger DS
Jagged Alliance
Show and Tell: Subtlety
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Show and Tell: Wearables
Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades
Overlord Minions


Most Commented On (14 days)

Recent Comments

Weblogs, Inc. Network

  • Autos
    • Autoblog
    • AutoblogGreen
    • Autoblog Spanish
    • Autoblog Chinese
    • Autoblog Simplified Chinese
  • Technology
    • Download Squad
    • Engadget
    • Engadget HD
    • Engadget Mobile
    • Engadget Chinese
    • Engadget Simplified Chinese
    • Engadget Japanese
    • Engadget Germany
    • Engadget Korea
    • Engadget Polska
    • Engadget Spanish
    • Switched
    • TUAW (Apple)
  • Lifestyle
    • AisleDash
    • DIY Life
    • Gadling
    • Green Daily
    • Luxist
    • ParentDish
    • Slashfood
    • Styledash
    • That's Fit
  • Gaming
    • Joystiq
    • DS Fanboy
    • Massively
    • Nintendo Wii Fanboy
    • PS3 Fanboy
    • PSP Fanboy
    • WoW Insider
    • Xbox 360 Fanboy
    • Big Download
  • Entertainment
    • Cinematical
    • TV Squad
  • Finance
    • BloggingBuyouts
    • BloggingStocks
    • WalletPop
  • Sports
    • FanHouse Main
    • NFL
    • NBA
    • MLB
    • NCAA Football
    • NCAA Basketball
    • NASCAR
    • NHL
    • Golf
    • Fantasy Football
  • Also on AOL
    • African-American Culture
    • Cars
    • Games
    • Maps
    • Money
    • Movies
    • Music
    • News
    • Radio
    • Sports
    • Television
    • Travel

Other Weblogs Inc. Network blogs you might be interested in:

PS3 Fanboy
  • Play Qore Wars with latest issue of Qore
  • Is this one of those LittleBigPlanet billboards?
  • Pennsylvania man assaulted by brass knuckles over PS3
WOW Insider
  • Penguin noncombat pets appear in the beta
  • Ask a Beta Tester: More about inscription
  • Widget shows character name statistics
Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Free $60 Amazon gift card with Elite 360 purchase
  • Bungie: New H3 achievements part of title update
  • X3F TV -- XBLA in Brief: Gin Rummy, Shred Nebula, Pirates vs Ninjas Dodgeball
Nintendo Wii Fanboy
  • Wii Warm Up: Tecmoei
  • Microsoft 'can't say' whether they'll beat Nintendo
  • Unfortunately-named new WiiWare puzzler announced
PSP Fanboy
  • Neverland Card Battles debut trailer is J-Poppy
  • Disgaea plaformer starring Prinny arriving on November 20th in Japan
  • Valhalla Knights 2 cuts into North America Oct. 1
Big Download Blog
  • EA could license Spore engine to third parties
  • Is the Crysis piracy issue overblown?
  • Max Payne movie director upset with possible R rating
Fanhouse Golf Blog
  • Will Tiger Be Even Less Human When His Robot Knee Is Fully Operational?
  • Jack Nicklaus Thinks the Americans Will Win The Ryder Cup 'Easily'
  • LPGA Backs Down From English-Only Policy