Review by buruburu1

"A hard but not infuriating puzzler"

Graphics (15/30, judged by era)- There isn't a ton of variety in the game's graphics—sprite-wise it's similar to much simpler games like The Legend of Zelda, which is to say the NES was capable of much more. However, there are 50 stages and some primitive story-telling elements to make up for this, as opposed to some of those early titles with 4-5 screens' worth of action. It does seem that simple things like exterior walls or water might've been better rendered for all the lack of detail, or perhaps some between-stage animations as were done commonly through the 1980s. Alas, no such adornment is to be found beyond the intro and ending animations.

Sound- FX/Voice (4/10) There aren't too many sounds in the game, but there are a couple that are audio game play cues, which is always nice. Unfortunately, about half the sounds in the game occur at times when your death is inevitable, so you don't even want to experience them.

Sound- Music (5/10) What's there is pleasant enough, but I think the game comes down to 6 audio tracks, and one of them is the gameplay music for the entire 50 levels. Given the lack of graphics data, you'd think one track per floor of the castle, thereby adding 4 more tracks, wouldn't be too much to ask. Apparently it was. The main game play song is fine, it's just that you're going to hear about 6 hours of it. That I didn't want to destroy my speakers I suppose a compliment to that one track.

Gameplay- Length/Lastability/Replay (15/15) Clocking in at about 6 hours, this is just fine for a cheap virtual console title. I doubt most gamers would blow through this in one night, even though you could time-wise. Your brain is likely to hurt too much to do that, but 2 nights is definitely do-able.There is, however, absolutely no incentive to replay the game ever since there are no hidden modes or difficulty settings. You play through, then move on. Thinking about replaying this game is like wanting to re-do a crossword puzzle—it's only fun when you don't know the solution.

Gameplay- Game Design (27/35)- A very creative design is implemented quite well. Each screen is a puzzle with usually only 1 solution, and each enemy type and tile type represent the variables that will allow you to get through each puzzle, collecting hearts and eventually the chest. Every enemy type, ground type, and object is used in all of their possible combinations, meaning that a keen understanding of what every tile or item or creature is capable of is essential to success. The 3 times I had to hit a FAQ were due entirely to my forgetting that an item or enemy could do or be made to do X. They do manage to exploit I think every variable within the limited tool set they've provided.

The puzzles are generally on the challenging side after the first dozen or so introduce the major concepts. Most of them are simply exercises in logic and ordering. Everything is predictable because of the strict and well thought-out rules for every item. Occasional portions require a bit of dexterity to pull off, but this is in no way an action game. Thankfully, the game is forgiving—unlimited continues and a quick-defeat option mean you can take the game at your speed. There are no timers or anything—generally you can stop and just sit back and think. It would've been catastrophic if you had only a limited number of continues, since trial-and-error means you can waste an entire "game" easily before figuring out the right combination. Having to start over from the bottom floor would've been nightmarish, even if you were able to breeze through those levels on repeated tries.

Controls, while not finicky, are also very much do-or-die. When I say that most puzzles can be solved in one way, that means that a half-square slip up often means you have to give up and start again. Thankfully, most of your moves are not time-dependent, meaning you can be careful to avoid many mishaps, but you'll make plenty of errors of this type, especially as your brain starts melting.

**Final Thoughts- If you like mentally breaking down how things work, and like puzzlers that aren't Tetris clones, this is definitely for you. It's main drawback is presentation—the gameplay is solid.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/17/08

Game Release: Adventures of Lolo (US, 04/30/89)

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