In a world of annual releases and mandated sequels, The Punchuin, the newest launch from Shin’en (Quick RMX, The Touryst), seems like an actual ardour mission. It is a charming love letter to puzzle sport followers with an unbelievable quantity of coronary heart put into it. However regardless of that, when you begin peeling again the layers, you’re left with an amazing core gameplay loop that’s too missing in content material to really feel like a completed mission.
In The Punchuin, you are taking direct management of a penguin who is kind of keen on punching and units out to search for the treasure hidden within the depths of Punch Mountain. With the assistance of a large sentient boxing glove, you deal with a number of challenges to gather diamonds from every stage as a way to move the varied gates blocking your path additional down. The plot, whereas easy, serves its function fairly properly, and is helped tremendously by the splendidly endearing and witty dialogue.
At its core, The Punchuin is a match-three puzzler, like so many others earlier than it. The penguin is dropped into an enclosed house, with coloured blocks falling from the sky. Shifting across the display screen and utilizing your fists, you punch the blocks into both a vertical or horizontal place to match colours collectively. To maintain issues fascinating, you’ll additionally get ice blocks that fall all the way down to disrupt your progress (generally with powerups encased inside).
Your purpose is to fulfill the quota of matches listed on the proper facet of the display screen earlier than blocks pile as much as the highest. Whereas pretty commonplace, the core gameplay loop is gratifying, and might even get fairly difficult within the latter ranges. Regardless of that, there’s a lack of level-based gimmicks to maintain issues feeling contemporary. Often there is a stage the place the display screen flips the wrong way up, however after some time, all of them start to really feel repetitive and mix collectively.
To try to assist break up the tempo, there are many particular phases scattered all through the world. As an alternative of blocks falling from the sky, all of the blocks are already on the board, and your job is to match the coloured blocks collectively. These, whereas gratifying at first, get very troublesome in a short time, and oftentimes really feel like trial and error somewhat than puzzle-solving.
There are additionally the occasional one-off character missions on the map. Often requiring an in-game foreign money charge to play, these Mario Get together-esque minigames vary from basketball to ice-block curling. Clearing these rewards you with a big variety of diamonds and assist boost the gameplay, so they’re properly value your time. However whereas the puzzle and character missions do break up the tempo, they sadly don’t repair the shortage of selection inside the principle match-three ranges themselves.
The Punchuin seems to be nice, significantly in handheld mode. The sprite work and the extremely detailed backgrounds add a component of allure to assist the sport stand out from different puzzle video games. As you’d anticipate, it runs nice on Swap, with no noticeable graphical dips or drops in body price.
Regardless of the strong core and presentation, the most important drawback The Punchuin has is the shortage of general content material. Should you play each single stage within the sport, your playtime will probably clock in round two hours. In case you are merely going from begin to end, you can be fortunate to hit an hour and a half. There are solely 4 worlds, every with roughly ten ranges (together with the puzzle and NPC ranges), which feels far too few for a puzzle sport like this.
Outdoors of the principle journey, the one actual possibility is a two-player versus mode the place you compete towards one other participant’s board to race to clear all of your matches first. Whereas gratifying for a spherical or two, the mode feels nearer to a time assault mode, since interplay between the 2 gamers’ boards is so restricted. Very like the remainder of the sport, it is serviceable however you find yourself wishing there was extra because the core right here is so strong. Contemplating how a lot love has clearly been put into this package deal, it’s a disgrace that the quantity of content material and selection merely isn’t sufficient to make The Punchuin reside as much as its full potential.
The Punchuin undoubtedly delivers a strong match-three gameplay expertise, however one which’s let down by little in the way in which of stage selection and a extreme lack of general content material. The charming writing and presentation spotlight the eagerness and ability of the builders however, in the long run, what’s right here feels extra like a lovingly-crafted demo than a full launch. In case you are in search of a fast and gratifying puzzler, The Punchuin will ship precisely that however no extra. It is fantastic, however we simply want this package deal packed extra of a punch, as there are many different choices on the market with extra bang on your buck.