Puzzle games and handhelds go
together like peanut butter and jam. It was no accident that the original Game Boy shipped
with Tetris instead of a Mario knockoff. There is just something about handhelds that lend
themselves to puzzle games. Maybe its the promise of endless replay value that makes
puzzle games so appealing. No game will ever be the same. If you have a good puzzle game,
you really dont need to have another game for your system. Who can say that about
Super Mario? Maybe its the false sense of a quick game. Puzzle games seem to promise
brief amusements that sharply contrast the epic portions of time necessary to complete a
Zelda or Mario. This of course is a lie. I have dedicated more time to those falling
Russian blocks than to any other game I have played. Its the simplicity that grounds
me and keeps me playing until all hours of the night.
When Chu Chu Rocket was first
released for the Dreamcast, I avoided it like the plague. I was working on a Masters
degree and I knew that I couldnt afford the hours it would suck away from my life.
Well, Ive completed my Masters, and it was with a certain sense of abandon
that I plopped Chu Chu Rocket Advance into my Game Boy Advance. Now, I find myself
wondering where all the time has gone.
all great puzzle games, the story is so simplistic that you really cant call it a
story. Your goal is to steer the space mice with directional arrows into your rocket while
steering the space cats towards the rockets of your competitors with the same directional
arrows. There are mystery mice that can throw a wrench into carefully plotted maps. Chu
Chu Rocket Advance has dozens of levels to master and no game ever plays the same way
twice. The graphics wont win any awards, but they certainly get the job done. There
is a lot going on on the screen at any given moment and I dont notice any slow down
(except, of course, when a mystery mouse makes that game slow down).
of the regular gameplay, there is a multi-player link for up to four players off one
cartridge. I really enjoy the puzzle mode of play also, where youre given limited
resources to steer your mice away from the cats and into the space ships. Its a
refreshing break from the frantic pace of regular play. Some of these will have you
scratching you head for hours. There are 2500 puzzles to play through in this game. I
honestly dont anticipate finishing this in my life. There is a time trial trial mode
and a level design mode. Not only do you get to design your own levels, but you also can
design your own characters and their animations. Its an incredibly tedious process,
but it gives you one more reason to get this game.
have to mention how much I enjoyed the sense of design and humor that comes across in the
menus and manual. It just screams light and fun without being too cute. I found myself
smiling as I leafed through the manual at its cleverness and aesthetic presentation. It
just looks cool. I seriously want a t-shirt with Chu Chus and rockets. There arent
too many games out there that I would show off on a t-shirt.
age of amazing graphics capabilities, its a wonder that people are still making
puzzle games. They just seem so eighties. Im glad that there are a few publishing
houses out there who still see the need to create puzzle games that arent Tetris.
Chu Chu Rocket is everything a puzzle game should be and so much more. If you need a break
from endless variations of Tetris, I highly recommend you give this a shot. At nearly
forty dollars, it may seem a little pricey, but I guarantee that you will not get more
mileage out of your gaming dollar from any other Game Boy Advance title. I promise, you
will still be playing this game three system generations from now.