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Puzzle Bomber
(Hyper Anime Studios)


"Throwing a new light into the puzzle genre"

Suzie would like nothing better than to destroy the evil and maniacal dragon balls. But a dragon defends the part of the kingdom where the dragon balls rest. Her only hope now is to get some firepower of her own and blast the dragon balls herself!

Control your throws carefully as you try to outwit the dragon with your bomb power. Your skill will be tested as the walls increase in size and the song that defends you loses its power. Can you destroy the dragon balls and restore peace to the kingdom?

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
There's good news and bad news when it comes to the graphics in Puzzle Bomber. The good news comes with the animation sequences. The introduction that leads to the title screen is very well-timed with the music, and the winning poses the heroine makes in between stages are a joy to watch.

The bad news comes during the game itself. The art level is maintained, but there are a few strange decisions made during the game's layout. First of all, the dragon ball (or the item you're supposed to hit with a bomb) is difficult to discern from all the other colored balls. Only three dots designate it, and they're pretty hard to see. Mixing up the colors a little would have helped to make the dragon ball stand out and make the game a little easier on the eyes.

The other factor that takes away from the Graphics score of this game is the blinking problem, which only takes place during the game. Refresh rates are rapid, causing the screen to blink almost uncontrollably.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Strangely enough, this Puzzle Bomber game doesn't come with a single explosion sound! But to compensate, Hyper Anime Studios gives their game some sound elements by borrowing some of the more popular tunes from Square's SNES classic Chrono Trigger and utilizing them into the game. While not original, it's certainly a nice touch because it gives the game a little magic.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
The object of Puzzle Bomber, which is endless, is to blow up dragon balls. To do this, you have color-coded bombs and a bag which can also be used to capture the dragon ball; which bomb or bag you get to use during a toss is decided randomly.

The key puzzle element in Puzzle Bomber is choosing the angle and power you use before you toss a bomb or bag, which is controlled with the arrow keys. It's not as easy as it looks; choose an angle that's to steep and your bomb will just fly straight up and back down. On the other hand, choose a power that's too high and the bomb will rocket over the screen and you won't hit anything.

There is, of course, factors that won't make your job as easy as it looks. If you make a bad toss, a hasty little dragon will drop defused bombs of his own over the horizon (which could possibly cover the dragon ball before you get to it). The only way to take care of these defused bombs is to throw a bomb of the same color on top of it. This is where Puzzle Bomber gets a little tricky! If the dragon ball is out of reach, you have to blow up any bomb that gets in your way with bombs of your own.

While the concepts in Puzzle Bomber are interesting, the game is endless. After you blow up one dragon ball, the game seems to start all over again. Without a score system, however, this choice in gameplay makes the game a little repetitive.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
After looking around the text files and the game for clues, I'm not really sure it's possible to put all of the game's elements to come up with a story. But what Hyper Anime was able to do with Puzzle Bomber is create some pretty unique puzzle elements. The bomb-tossing female character mixed with the colors, the dragons, and the medevil theme was a nice touch. The short demo sequences were also well animated and overall this game had almost enough story elements to form a two-point rating. What changed my mind was the game's reference to using the popular anime term "dragon balls" to describe the object of the bomber's affection.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Blinking is probably the first hurdle that Puzzle Bomber has to cross to improve on it's Replay Value. The fact that the entire screen flickers can stress the eyes, even after a few minutes of play. I found that staring at the upper right of the screen, where the bomber rests, is where my eyes suffer the least amount of damage.

But after the blinking, a little more variation in gameplay would probably be the other pick-up that Puzzle Bomber needs. After mastering how to throw bombs properly, the lone objective of bombing dragon balls becomes too easy, and the game becomes monotonous.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes

The bombs you throw don't necessarily go at a perfect arc, so it does take a while to figure out the angle and power that will get you most comfortable with the game. With about fifteen to twenty minutes practice though, you'll start to find an angle where you're most comfortable with. By then, bombing dragon balls will be no match for your skills.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
The game's high point. This is the only QB game I know where the game can blink like the dickens but still manage to attain a three-star rating on the Fun Factor mark. That's because with Puzzle Bomber, Hyper Anime came up with a new type of puzzle that is quite addictive. It's a simple enough formula for fun: blowing things up. And except for the blinking, the graphics and sound mix well enough that they aren't a nuisance to this game's entertainment value.

Even if Hyper Anime Studios decided to polish up on this game by reducing the blinking and improving slightly on the art, this game is still guaranteed a good Fun Factor score. It would be nice to see a version of this game that's slightly improved so that the fun doesn't have to hurt the eyes. But to make the game even more fun, then some other elements are needed to increase the replay value of this game. Score bonuses and combinations, or something else that would give the game more continuity, would be a great start.

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: N/A Final Rating: 13/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wYou can not play Puzzle Bomber if you do not have a Sound Blaster or Sound Blaster compatible card.
wTo run this game, you must have any version of Microsoft QuickBasic.
wTo play Puzzle Bomber, unzip the file and run "PUZZLE.BAT". Modifications may have to be made to this batch file if you are not using "QBASIC.EXE" to access your version of QuickBasic.

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