DS

North America

Konductra

by Ryan Jones - December 15, 2006, 8:03 pm PST
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5.5

Konductra is a simple puzzle game that can quite easily turn into a waiting game.

Konductra has a simple premise: create and destroy lines of similarly colored blocks to complete various tasks depending on the game mode selected. Single player mode rewards you with points, Task mode rewards you with completing the level, and Vs mode creates havoc for your opponent.

Every game mode starts with an empty 7x11 grid of squares. Your task is to place 1x2 tiles into these squares. These tiles can be placed horizontally or vertically depending on your needs, but the tiles have to be placed next to each other so they touch, so no diagonal placement is allowed. The pieces can come in various combinations of colors red/green, yellow/blue, blue/blue and so on. These tiles can be placed anywhere on the grid, but similar colors should be placed next to each other.

In order to clear the board of these tiles, there is an alternating colored array of conductors (light and dark) placed around the grid, eleven on the top and bottom and seven on each side. These conductors are your “circuit completers". To clear blocks, select a conductor and drag the stylus to the adjacent block that is touching that conductor, and any adjacent block of the same color, and then end on another conductor of the same color as the original one that was selected (moving over previously selected blocks if needed) and release the stylus from the screen. This will complete your circuit and destroy any blocks of color that you highlighted. It's a difficult explanation for something that is more easily demonstrated at the Konductra website, http://konductra.com/.

To make it easier to clear colors, the game has “chain" blocks that allow a switch to any other adjacent color of the chain block to clear more colors. This can help to clear most of the board by allowing you to clear more than one connected color through the chain block that may be in the middle of the board and nowhere near a conductor. A visual explanation is available on the Konductra website as well.

Konductra is a fun puzzle game that creates unique challenges. In the Task mode, there are increasingly difficult puzzles that are somewhat identifiable pictures where specific colors have to be placed on specific grid spaces to create the picture. Then the entire board must be cleared with one “circuit." This can lead to some tricky use of conductors and chain blocks to achieve destruction of pictures, as all of the correctly colored tiles must be placed to clear the level. This will cause you to have to destroy unnecessary colored tiles as you wait for the ones you need.

The interface to select and start games is unique at first, but as you play the game more, it becomes annoying and slow. All menu navigation is done with the stylus. Every menu selection must be made as if you were destroying blocks in the game, and once a selection is made you have to sit through a 2-4 second animation to complete before you can make your next selection. Konductra could use the help of an interface designer to create something more usable.

Vs mode is a unique take on the game. Every time blocks are destroyed, your opponent’s corresponding blocks are flipped over, making them unusable. The longer the chain, the more of the opponent’s board will be unplayable, eventually leading to the end of the game because tiles cannot be placed. Tapping the spaces individually can return them to their normal state. Unfortunately, the implementation of this mechanic is poor. Most of the time blocks half-flip, which can take less taps to fix, but it makes the game look unfinished as the expectation is for the blocks to flip completely over. Additionally, tapping isn’t intuitive as the spaces fluidly flip over, so the expectation would be to tap and hold a space. The Vs mode needs some work to make it intuitive and fun to play for hours on end.

The Score mode needs some work as well. Score mode is pretty much taking the puzzle element out of the game and making it strictly about seeing how much of the board can be destroyed at once, with the spaces towards the middle being worth more points. The point scores are set so low (the outer grid spaces are worth 5) that after 20-30 minutes of playing, the score is only around 20,000. The expectation is to be much higher for that amount of time spent playing, only because I didn’t feel as thought I accomplished anything in that 20 minutes. Around this point the game adds two new colors; purple and orange. They add some more difficulty, and along with the amount of time given to place a piece decreasing and your board always filling up, it can be a challenge to constantly keep the board in chain order.

Overall, Konductra is a fun puzzle game for a little while, but after playing for more than a few hours it becomes tedious and tiring. Puzzle games should make you want to play them for hours at a time, but Konductra is more a game that should be played in spurts because there is only so long you can wait for the one 2-color combination to come along to complete a puzzle.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
5 6 5 7 5 5.5
Graphics
5

The graphics are nothing to cheer about. While the gameboard is 3D, this effect serves little purpose. The shimmer of the blocks is a nice effect, but there’s nothing overly great about the graphics. The font choices are also lacking. It is mostly your traditional 90’s “techno" interface.

Sound
6

The main song for the game isn’t annoying, but it can become annoying when it's your focus because you’re waiting for a certain piece. The interface sounds aren’t great, but they do what they’re meant to do.

Control
5

Unless you’ve figured out the game, the controls can be tricky at first. If you even touch a color that isn’t the color you’re currently trying to destroy, the chain ends and you have to start it all over again. This means you have to be more careful as you drag your stylus across the board. The game interface could definitely use some work, or even allow the use of the directional pad to make selections.

Gameplay
7

Konductra is a unique puzzle game. The gameplay itself is nothing special; it is a tap and drag game that doesn’t take too much effort. It is the actual challenge of the game that makes it worthwhile, regarding where to place pieces and how to remove them.

Lastability
5

Konductra has its moments, but with its various modes of play, I found myself heading back to the Task mode to complete the pictures. Once I completed a puzzle, sometimes taking an upwards of 15 minutes, I didn’t want to play that puzzle again, because it was completed. Maybe if I was racing against time, I might have an incentive to go back. The Vs mode does offer a unique experience with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection that could offer endless hours of gaming.

Final
5.5

Konductra is a fun puzzle game, but in making you want to come back and play more, it is lacking. The interface and gameplay seem like they need a little work to make it easier to learn and more fun to play. The elements that are used have no variation and no uniqueness, making it a very one-dimensional game. With more polishing, gameplay enhancements, and incentives to continue to play, Konductra could have an addicting sequel.

Summary

Pros
  • Unique puzzle action
  • Various ways to play
  • WiFi with online leaderboard
Cons
  • Annoyingly slow menu
  • Task mode is tedious and repetitive
  • The right piece can take 5 minutes to arrive
  • Vs mode gets tedious
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Konductra Box Art

Genre Puzzle
Developer O~3 Entertainment
Players1 - 2
Online1 - 2
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Konductra
Release Oct 31, 2006
PublisherO~3 Entertainment
RatingEveryone

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