…leaves no room for a subtitle in my review. As such, I feel it’s only fair to give it a 1/5 for irritating title length.
Oh, alright, I guess we can talk about the game anyway.
A port of the award-winning PC game of the same name which was released last year, the premise is this: Vanessa, an odd, geeky girl, gets her hands on a puzzle box which she can’t solve. Bullied at school, she one day drops the puzzle box, which promptly sucks everything nearby – the school and people included – into itself. In order to free herself and her classmates, Vanessa has to solve the puzzle of the cube.
This entails exploring a series of 2D levels played across a three-dimensional, pseudo-Rubik’s Cube. Seemingly a straightforward platformer at first, the importance of the cubic nature of the levels makes itself apparent quickly. Aside from being able to move left and right, jump, and open doors, Vanessa can rotate the face of the cube she is on by ninety degrees in any direction at will. The most obvious effect of this is to change the direction of ‘down’ – Vanessa (and other physical objects in the world) are affected by gravity, so navigating the levels regularly requires turning the world around.
At first this is used simply to allow Vanessa to reach her goals directly, but fairly quickly block puzzles begin to make an appearance: areas where there is a switch that requires a block to stop on it in order to remove an obstacle from your path. These puzzles are made harder by the fact that Vanessa cannot rotate a face of the cube while items are falling – which includes herself, incidentally. As such, working out the correct routes to send the blocks on that they stop at their destination can be quite a challenge, particularly when multiple blocks are concerned.
As the game progresses, hazards are added to the mix, such as spikes and spiders, all deadly to Vanessa. These force the player to stop and think about their placement of Vanessa as they rotate the world, having to make sure not only that the blocks get to their destinations, but that Vanessa isn’t killed in the process. This makes for some particularly tense scenarios where the player has to rotate the cube face and immediately have Vanessa drift right or left in order to land on a block between spikes (the player has some limited control over her as she falls).
As if this wasn’t enough, there’s another major challenge added by the Rubik’s Cube nature of the levels: rotating one face doesn’t rotate the rest of the cube. Which means that by rotating the face you’re currently on, you alter the destination of its exits. Sometimes this makes an exit invalid, as it opens out into a wall on another face. Other times, it allows you access to a completely different area. Later levels make this mechanic integral to the game, as you have to solve not only puzzles within the face you’re currently in, but also work out a viable route across the cube.
All of this makes for a genuinely challenging puzzler; it’s amazing just how complex a level can be made when working with a maximum of six faces. As if that wasn’t enough, you’re assigned a score for each level based on the speed with which you completed it, and the number of times you rotated the cube’s faces, encouraging you to find the quickest and most elegant solutions to levels you’ve already completed.
The game also has a memorable aesthetic: while not the most technically accomplished title on Windows Phone, its quirky, gothic stylings work well to give the game real character. The only issue I have with the game is its interface: while elements of it work well (tilting the phone to look around the edges of the cube, for example), I can’t help but feel that the on-screen keys aren’t the best laid out, as I would regularly find myself pressing the open button instead of the jump button, for example. The slow nature of the game means this isn’t a huge issue, but at the same time means that, combined with the clunky controls, the game can feel a little sluggish at times. Similarly, the text in the menus is a bit too close together, with me accidentally replaying a level I’d intended to continue from due to a mis-press. Now, this could be me being incredibly useless, but it’s not a problem I’ve noticed in other games, so I do think the interface could do with a bit of an overhaul.
And, er, that’s it. I’m not sure that I can give much higher praise than to say that the only real criticism I can think of is that the controls aren’t perfect. This is a great, great game – and, incredibly, it’s only 79p. If you’ve any love for puzzle games, you owe it to yourself to get this game.
Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare Gameplay Video
Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare Screenshots
Version Under Review : 220.127.116.11
There is a trial version available and the full version is available for $0.99, we are not sure what are the limitations of the trial version.
Our Rating for Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare
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