Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Face / ASCII Corporation

Ryuukyuu is a "well puzzler" that has you manipulate playing cards as opposed to blocks, blobs, or gemstones. You drop each tile when you're ready; there isn't a one-after-another downpour a la Tetris (though you can play with a time limit for extra challenge). Rack up points by putting together winning poker hands.

I'm not a big poker-game fan, but I got some mild enjoyment out of Ryuukyuu anyway. Its unexpected success in this regard was in no way due to the ghastly girl images it "rewarded" me with.

No, I think it had more to do with the strategy involved in managing a bunch of different poker hands at once. Even with the block-drops taking place at my command and without the timer ticking, Ryuukyuu has a frantic feel about it because of all the different rows being built and combinations coming together at once.

Frantic is cool, but frustrating is not. And Ryuukyuu can be a frustrating affair, as outcomes often boil down to luck no matter how astute the player is, and the point-total requirements in later stages are set ridiculously high. Find yourself stuck on a board and the initially cool music can gradually become irritating. It's fortunate, then, that the game offers multiple tunes for you to select from and that conquering a difficult stage evokes a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

It's unlikely that Ryuukyuu will make anyone forget about Tetris or Puyo Puyo, but it does rank with the likes of Spin Pair as a decent, worthwhile member of the genre. You might even think it's great if you're into poker.

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