It Has Nothing To Do With Zelda –
Intelligent Systems, mostly known for their superb Advance Wars, Fire Emblem and Paper Mario series, released this unique puzzler on the DSiWare service back in 2010. This forgotten puzzle game is currently available as a free download from Nintendo’s Club Nintendo program here in June 2013.
Link’n’Launch is a little hard to explain because there really isn’t another game quite like it. If it had to be summed up, this touch screen puzzle game is a mix of Meteos and Pipe Dream. The player uses the stylus to slide, flip, and rotate pipeline tiles to link a fuel source to a rocket ship. Once this pipe connection is made, the rocket then blasts off into space until the final destination is reached or the timer reaches zero.
Strategy comes into play as the player is tasked with quickly putting pieces together while collecting optional enhancements like a time extending bonuses or ship upgrades. The rocket ship also has three thrusters. If a pipeline is connected to all three thrusters, it will launch vertically and with extra force. However, if just the right thruster is connected to fuel, then the ship will travel vertically but to the left or to the right if the left thruster is ignited. The player must stay the course and will receive penalty if the rocket travels too far off the charted path.
Because this game is so unique, there is a pretty extensive tutorial. But this tutorial segment is also the biggest flaw; it just keeps going and going. It is super annoying when you make one move then are forced to sit through more text boxes to just move the piece one tile over. Just let me play already and I will figure things out as I go! The tutorial is handy for players who want to take it all in, but there really is nothing in the tutorials that cannot be figured out with minimal trial and error.
Visually, there is not much to talk about but that is fine for a puzzle game. I guess my own complaint with the graphics is the ship becomes quite pixelated during the squishy blast-off animations. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is remarkable especially considering this is a cheap DSiWare download.
Link’n’Launch is probably one of the more unique puzzle games in recent memory. Gameplay is simple but complicated enough to warrant many play-throughs and the touch screen controls work perfectly. Unfortunately, gameplay becomes repetitive and is best experienced in 5-10 minute bursts but there are dozens of puzzles to tackle for those willing. Link’n’Launch does not revolutionize the puzzle game genre but offers something unique to the puzzle game enthusiast.
Not As Good As: Meteos
Also Try: Puzzle Link
Wait For It: Chu Chu Rocket on XBLA