What We Think:
Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is a SNES-era Super Mario Bros. and Tetris mashup from indie developer Andrew Morrish and published by Adult Swim Games. Those are the low-hanging comparisons. It’s a simple enough premise, but it is fun.
I immediately modified the default control scheme on my Xbox gamepad to use the left thumbstick to move directionally in lieu of the default joypad mapping. I set the right trigger to shoot and left to fire the secondary weapon, and A to jump. Suddenly this was a no-brainer to pick up, and I found myself returning to it frequently for a quick pick up lightning round of jumping, blasting dodging and yes even a little strategizing. There really isn’t much more to it than that, well there are a few more things, but it works.
Super Relevant Byline
With the extra added humor that comes from the ilk of people behind it, the game has enough personality to make it feel like a happening, and not just another casual game. But that is a minor psychological aside.
There are 8 playable characters that each feature unique abilities so that you can change up your approach to staying on the proverbial tightrope. These are fun if you have the tenacity to tough it out and survive that long, but truly casual gamers may find the often quick permadeath a little too daunting to ever discover these alternatives. Each will serve as your avatar through six different worlds, and so again, you will not be stuck on the same screen as you progress, unlike Tetris. These levels must be unlocked via your epic gameplay, and as you will infer, that is not as easy as you may be led to believe from the friendly kiddy graphical treatment of yore.
Your starting character has the ability to slow fall, which is merciful, since you will be using this skill to nab the little gold rhombuses that fuel you up towards the next level and also avoid the various nasty blocks that include spikes, cannons and detonators that will fall along with the various colored blocks. Your goal is to shoot the blocks away, ideally when several of the same color are touching so that you can score combos and get moar lewt.
Super Suicidal Ultra Difficulty
Again, I want to state the difficulty level – this was more akin to surviving Super Hexagon than meditatively planning two steps ahead with a bemused expression. This game is hard, and if that is your bag, then you are in for a treat.
An interesting mechanic is that rather than have multiple lives, you start as nothing and quickly collect coins and shoot stuff, ideally in combo-form to level up. If you get squashed, shot or land on spikes, among other colorful ways to get bruised, your level meter goes down. De-level all the way back to zero and it is game over. Fast and sweet. This certainly shifts the sense of excitement from the typical design wherein you can look forward to a pair of extra lives; here you must earn those “lives” in the form of levels from the very first move you make. Nice 🙂
The multiplayer mode lets you compete with a buddy, and suddenly the game becomes reminiscent of Clickr (our review) – minus the groovy board rotation mechanic or Lumines Live (Wiki link). However unlike Lumines or Clickr wherein your actions affect the other player’s screen, in SPPD you are simply sharing a screen and watching your homie try to outlast you.
Because you see, there is no victory state: There are unlockables which you achieve by picking up enough block bits, and there are 35 Steam achievements, but ultimately you are just trying to live as long as possible, and like Tetris, if you get the hang of it, you might find yourself eating handfuls of cereal three days later with your eyes fastened firmly to your CRT.
Super Mega Hybrid: Engage!
Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe is a solid, well-crafted title with fairly high replayability and tight mechanics that doesn’t truly break any ground, but mashes up some favorite and highly addictive genres very well.