Burn, Baby Burn –
Candle Route is a Pied Piper puzzle game that uses the touch screen to guide a flame to a candle while gathering match sticks along the way. With child-like crayon graphics, light hearted personality, and a different take on the puzzle genre, this 200 Point ($2) download is worth a look for the casual pick-up-and-play gamer.
There are two gameplay modes simply named Side A and Side B. Starting with Side A, the player guides an anthropomorphic flame by placing flags, or waypoints, on the touch screen grid-based map. With only a limited amount of waypoints available, the goal is map out the shortest path from Point A to Point B while walking adjacent to every match stick. Once a corresponding number of match sticks are following Sparky, the playable flame character, the level-ending candles can be lit. Charmingly, these level-ending candles have a sad face until they are lit. It doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay but it is nice detail that really gives the entire title some welcomed personality. Using a golf scoring system, each stage strives for a Par or better, using less moves than the maximum available. Using more than the allowed moves results in a re-start. Thankfully, a welcomed hint system offers clues for mind bogglers.
Annoyingly, the game automatically limits the player by using the shortest possible path. Since there is often more than one way to solve a puzzle, not being able to move Sparky as exactly desired forces the player to bend to the way the game wants you to play. For example, starting at the top of a screen with a square barrier below, the player might want to move counterclockwise to reach the match stick at the bottom 6 o’clock position and at the 9 o’clock position but the game will force Sparky to the bottom 6 o’clock position by moving clockwise through the 3 o’clock position. Moving just one tile away can drastically alter the waypoint’s path and forces the player to frustratingly re-think initial solutions.
Side B becomes unlocked after Side A stages are completed. These Side B stages are exactly the same as Side A stages but the player has direct control of Sparky via the D-pad. Here, the player has a limited view of the stage; only a small spotlight generated by his natural luminescence allows for about a two-tile viewing circumference. Unlike the restricted amount of moves available on Side A, Side B focuses on completing each stage in a short amount of time. But because each stage is repeated from Side A, players can use this stage memorization knowledge to solve most Side B puzzles on the first time and ultimately winds up as a chore-like mini-game and a way to artificially extend gameplay.
The crayon graphics in Yoshi’s Island, in comparison, looks like a coloring book but drawn in detail by professionals. On the other hand, Candle Route retains that colorful coloring book aesthetic but drawn by very young children. Not that this should be looked upon negatively as it provides the overall charm of the entire title, just do not expect to be visually exposed to first party Nintendo quality. Each of the game’s limited audio tracks also repeat a little too often but I was literally humming to myself after I turned the power off on my 3DS… but it was more from repetition as opposed to a high quality musical theme. But for a $2 download, Candle Route actually goes above and beyond.
With 100 levels available, Candle Route can be worth your 200 Points if you are looking for a different type of puzzle game. It does not have the same staying power of games like Chu Chu Rocket or Tetris, but the crayon visuals and wealth of content deserves a second look when browsing through available DSiWare titles.
Not As Good As: Chu Chu Rocket!
Also Try: Kwirk on original GB
Not To Be Confused With: Burn the Rope
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com