Bermuda Triangle is a slightly new take on classic puzzle game formulas and offers an easy going thrill with a budget price.
Like Bust-A-Move, the goal of the game is to link together three of the same colored pieces built around a friendly and colorful ocean theme. Once connected, these colored coral pieces will explode and force the pieces below them to float to the top, opening the possibility of getting a combo for a higher score.
It doesn’t take long to figure out how the game works. Each piece that does not form a three piece chain will cause a couple other pieces to appear on the screen. This style of gameplay isn’t necessarily broken, however, it does slow down the overall speed and pacing of the game. The player also has plenty of time to think about the placement of each piece before the game forces a move for the player. In classic puzzle games like Tetris and Puyo Pop, pieces will gradually fall faster and faster which increases the game’s difficulty with the player’s experience level. Bermuda Triangle’s gameplay is never stressful and the difficulty never really ramps up to Tetris’ pace. Also, when each piece of coral is shot from the boat at the top of the screen, the player has to wait for the coral’s animation to finish bobbing in the water before the next piece can be fired, again, slowing down gameplay. It would have been more exciting if pieces could have been shot rapid fire while pieces were constantly filling the screen.
On occasion, the player will have to do more than just link three colored pieces together. Sea snails will sometimes appear at the bottom of the screen and damage the coral that you set out to protect. The only way to get rid of these pests is to throw anchors at them. Each anchor shot must be carefully aimed as the snails move around at random at the bottom of the screen. It should also be noted that when snails get clanked on the head with an anchor, it makes the same sound effect when Mario jumps on a Koopa Trooper.
Octopi will also appear to ink a coral piece, making the black color incompatible with other pieces. Besides taking offensive measures with different items to wipe out these pesky intruders, the game also rewards the player with items that can clear out many coral pieces at once. The rainbow pod, for example, will make the same colored coral pieces disappear with a single shot.
Bermuda Triangle can be played with either the stylus or d-pad. Both offer responsive control and one isn’t really better than the other. But the best parts about this game are the extremely colorful graphics. Everything is hand drawn and looks great coming from the DS screen with the backlit option cranked to high. The ocean theme will repeat throughout the entire game, but everything does have a very simple, bright, and colorful aesthetic that is promises to catch the eye of any DS owner, especially younger gamers who are fans of animated Disney movies. The music, on the other hand, suits the game well enough, especially considering this is a budget title, but won’t blow anybody away. The only real complaint coming from the audio department is the annoying voice that announces “combo” every time multiple pieces are linked together.
The game’s main mode is Story Mode, where the player plays one level right after the next. Timed Mode and Endless Mode are self explanatory and offer something a little different once the main mode is completed. High scores are also stored in the game’s memory but cannot be posted to an online leaderboard. There is also no multiplayer mode whatsoever.
The slower pacing of Bermuda Triangle should be most welcomed to amateur puzzle gamers and younger children. An in game tutorial would have been nice but the game is simple enough to understand upon spending only a few minutes with it. With the game’s Finding Nemo sea theme and straight-forward player friendly gameplay, younger children should find Bermuda Triangle quite entertaining as well as amateur puzzle gamers. Hardcore puzzle players, however, will probably want to look somewhere else to get their puzzle fix.
Not As Good As: Bust-A-Move, Puyo Pop
Also Try: Puzzle Link (Neo Geo Pocket Color)
Wait For It: an XBLA version with online leaderboards and mutliplayer
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