It seems as though the puzzle genre is steadily dying as technology is becoming more and more advanced. The basic premise of a puzzle game is just that, basic. So basic, in fact, that the growth of technology hasnít really done anything for this genre. But Kemco doesnít really care, and proof of this is its upcoming puzzler that hopes to bring back some long lost fans, Egg Mania: Eggstreme Madness.
You wouldnít think a game would have anything to do with eggs, much less have eggs in its title, but this will all be explained soon enough. Summing up the basics the game presents is rather easy. While the game looks somewhat like Tetris from the screens, itís actually different. In Egg Mania, you first choose a character, and then you must begin your tower building. As blocks fall from the top of the screen, you must frantically catch them to use towards your tower, which, in the long run, will elevate you to the hot-air balloon above, wherein youíll win. By the way, youíre racing against another builder, so time is of the essence, and whoever grabs the tether first will come out victorious, as well as flushing the opponents tower.
Those are the basics, now letís complicate it up a bit and describe the puzzle elements in the game. As youíre building the tower, you mustnít leave any gaps or holes big enough to rupture your tower. If, indeed, you do leave a gap or hole big enough, the tower will wobble and, to a greater extent, collapse, making you start from the ground up. To display how much danger youíre actually in of collapsing, there is a wobble meter to alert you beforehand. You can also drop blocks in gaps you made earlier to better ensure your stability, or you can just build it efficiently from the get-go. But then again, you have to keep in mind that youíre racing someone else, so taking your time just wonít cut it. This is where strategy and quick-reactions come into play quite a bit, and this makes the game quite interesting.
If not already somewhat complicating, more traps and objects intending on impeding your process are included. Little pests like birds and ghosts will fly around and try to steal blocks from you, and every stage has its own distinct creatures. If you happen to get knocked off your tower from oncoming lava or boulders, a kind whale will come to your assistance, aiding you back to the top of your tower.
To mix the gameplay up even more is the usage of a horde of powerups, all containing a unique effect. The hammer, for instance, will destroy unfinished rows in your opponentís structure, while the lighting powerup will electrocute your enemy, shortly halting his building of the tower. The bomb, quite possibly the most beneficial powerup, depending on the situation, of course, will blow up your foe as well as his tower. The super boots allow you to build without having it fall down, and the trowel will fill gaps. Indeed, the powerups add a lot to the game -- fun-wise and more.
Kemco looks like they have the answer to what puzzle fans are in dire need of. The gameís simple approach but bevy of loopholes should interest both fans of the genre and others. Sporting multiple single-player modes as well as an up to 8-player round robin tournament, Egg Mania looks quite promising, so keep your eyes open this September
7/24/2002 Joseph Comunale