Puzzle games, eh? (To coin a phrase.) It seems like only months since they were the hippest thing around - remember Tetris? Pipe Mania? Puzznic? Robocop II? [That wasn't a puzzle game, actually! - Ed] But in recent weeks the stream has dried to a trickle, and puzzle games look set to be in danger of going the same way as skateboards, futons, '60's American sitcoms and other unfashionable objects. Luckily, however, Audiogenic have been alerted to this potential tragedy and they're attempting to save the day with Loopz, a game I happen to have in front of me at this very moment.
It may sound suspiciously like a breakfast cereal or something, but Loopz is an altogether more serious proposition. In traditional puzzle game style, you're presented with a grid of squares. Shapes appear one at a time (like in Tetris) which you must place on the screen within a time limit so they link up (like in Pipe Mania) to form (you guessed it) 'loopz'. The longer the loop the more points you get.
And that's about it, really. Simplicity is the operative word here - there are no 'special bonuses', 'bonus fruits' or anything else to worry about. There is a choice of 3 different ways of playing the game, though, one of which has you trying to replace missing bits of 'loopz'. But that's it. Honest.
The obvious thing to do now would be to unleash a flood of the usual puzzle game reviewing phrases like 'maddeningly addictive' or 'couldn't tear myself away', but the trouble is that Loopz isn't really all that addictive, I'm afraid. Not enormously so, anyway. And I'm not entirely sure why. It seems pretty much like any other puzzle game, so one would expect to be hooked to it for hours. But instead it's only averagely addictive. I derived a moderate amount of enjoyment from it, but had no difficulty in switching it off to watch the weather forecast. Get the idea?
Perhaps if they'd taken a little more trouble over the graphics, and possibly thrown in a few surprises, Loopz would have been another essential puzzle game purchase. Instead it's a game you might possibly want to invest some left-over pocket money in, especially if you enjoyed its forebears, but not one that's going to set your underwear alight.
A pleasantly approachable puzzle game, but nothing more.