About This Place

First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Zenerchi Puzzle Energy"

ZenImage by Rickydavid via Flickr

Zenerchi Puzzle Energy is one of those puzzles that manages to get it just right, so you can't stop playing. It is based on the standard "match-3" formula that made Bejeweled and variations so easy to pick up. yet it manages to add its own twists, as well as various power ups, and introduce them in such gradual manner that eases the learning curve. This puzzle game is well produced with a lot of zen-like sayings. With three modes of play, this is bound to be a classic.

ZPE is basically a rotating wheel with multiple "levels". Press up/down to switch levels, and press left right to rotate that level clockwise or counter-clockwise. The idea is move the levels to create 3 touching sections of the same color. That'll disappear, and new random sections will appear to take their place. The objective is to "fill up" the core by match tiles with appropriate color, assembling the "zenerchi", so to speak.

Later levels introduce blockers, ring bursts, color bursts, section bursts, ring locks, counter-locks, and more. Each adds a new wrinkle to the basic puzzle. Also, most levels have two win conditions... basic, and expert. Normal win is basic. Expert win means score above a certain level. And that can be quite difficult, due to the time limit in effect.

There are three game modes: journey mode, zen mode, and free play. Journey mode is your typical 'adventure mode', with 25 levels of increasing difficulty, but each level has a timer. Zen mode is more about solving a puzzle in minimal moves without timer. While free play allow you to play any levels that you have unlocked without a timer.

Graphics is good, though you'd wish the fonts are a bit bigger. Music is sorta zen-like background music that you can easily do without. Sound effects are pretty standard.

After extensive play, I found the difficulty level to be almost unbearable at about half way into the journey mode. So many blocked pieces, as well as cross-locked rings makes levels time-consuming, but the timer is always running. I know my limits.

All in all, Zenerchi Puzzle Energy feels very Tetris-like in its addiction, with plenty of twists with those special powerups and downs. The basic concepts are simple enough, but the twists keeps the game difficult to master. And that's great game design. However, later levels are simply too difficult.

Overall score: 8.5 out of 10
Pros: Very easy to learn, yet hard to master
Cons: controls may not be the most intuitive, timer is very unforgiving, and some twists get kinda exotic

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