Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling PagesESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Developer: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Shared universe with Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts
Square Enix’s Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages is a new puzzle game available on WiiWare. Each level takes place on a page of a pop-up book, and the player tosses paper bears on to the page to collect red candy. In many cases, the bears collect tools to help solve the puzzles.
The controls are pretty simple. To finish a level, all the red candy must be collected from the stage. The paper bears are dispatched from the bottom-center of the screen. Twisting the Wii Remote adjusts the angle that the bear is tossed, and pressing A or B will hold the angle. Flicking the remote while holding a button tosses the bear in that direction. The distance that the bear is tossed depends on how hard the remote was flicked. Initially, I had a tough time adjusting to the tossing sensitivity, hurling bears to the very back of the page when, in actuality, I was trying to gently toss them to the very front of the stage. After a few puzzles, I adjusted to the sensitivity, but I still have bad throws every once in a while.
After the controls are settled, the game begins introducing spells and environmental hazards. For instance, a candy may be placed on top of a fire, and because the bears are made of paper, they can’t collect the candy before lighting on fire. They can, however, collect a water spell to put out the fire. The water spell works the same way as a bear – it must be tossed onto the page. This is when Puzzling Pages really begins to shine! The puzzles become more complicated, requiring great precision and timing.
In each level, the player starts with a certain number of bears, but more bears can usually be collected on the page. When a level is finished, the number of remaining bears becomes the Best Score for the level. If enough bears are leftover, the player can be awarded a platinum, gold, or silver medal. The award feature adds a lot of replay value for players who are interested in maximizing their high scores.
The music and artwork make Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages a great experience. The narrative is a little spooky, and the music underlines it well. The art is a mix of cute and spooky. The whole experience drew me in immediately. The levels have lighter, happier music and atmosphere, which is good because I don’t think I’d enjoy solving puzzles to spooky music constantly. The bears even make cute squeaks as you toss them! Overall, I found the game to be really enjoyable, and the music and art really completed the experience.
Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages is a great choice for puzzle game fans. The art, music, and narrative enhance the atmosphere. Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts shares the same atmosphere and may be a more suitable choice for fans of tower defense-style games. Unfortunately, I was unable to try Chaotic Conflicts, but as it shares the same bear tossing mechanic and mood as Puzzling Pages, I think it would be really enjoyable. Because each game tells a story in the same universe, it is recommended that both games are completed for the full experience. Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages and Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts are available on WiiWare for 1000 Wii Points each.