It's like a modified Puzzle Quest where stats don't matter, the puzzle is Othello (Reversi), and Neopets rule the world.
Designed by Infinite Interactive, the same team who brought us the critically acclaimed Puzzle Quest series, Neopets Puzzle Adventure is a pseudo sequel to the studio's previous work. As denoted by the title, the game carries Nickelodeon's Neopets branding, which provides the game's characters, environments, items, and (mundane) story. Though rough around the edges, Puzzle Adventure provides a solid experience that can be appreciated by fans of Neopets and puzzle games alike.
Othello, also known as Reversi, is the featured puzzle of the adventure, and it follows the basic rules aside from two small modifications. Players can use petpets to modify the status of the game. Certain petpets will remove pieces from the board, while others will lock certain pieces. Some even flip selected tokens, causing a chain effect. The second modification is the shockwave mechanic. Though the player doesn't have direct control over it, after a number of pieces are flipped in a continuous chain, a shockwave will often cause a several other unrelated pieces on the board to flip as well.
The game's story is strung along by a series of puzzle battles with either wild neopets or enemy combatants. Each battle places a unique spin on the game board and the number of petpets a player is allowed to bring into battle. As the game progresses, both you and your opponent have a larger array of petpets to work with in battle, drastically altering strategy. Furthermore, the standard 8x8 grid is modified for each individual match. Some games have patterned dead-zones that prohibit piece placement. As one would imagine, this requires adjustments to the standard Reversi strategy.
Puzzle Adventure, like Puzzle Quest, awards players experience points for completed battles; however, in Puzzle Adventure, leveling your character is completely worthless. Aside from unlocking some of the in-game achievements (which unlock things on the Neopets website), higher levels and greater experience make no difference in the game whatsoever. This begs the question: why was this mechanic even included? With its limited progression, the story mode drags significantly, and only serves as a means of unlocking new petpets and achievements for use outside of the game's main mode.
Regardless, Puzzle Adventure is actually quite a bit of fun to play. The small modifications made to the standard Othello gameplay keep things interesting. Additionally, players will see a decent challenge when the computer's skill level is set to Expert. Infinite Interactive also has included a secondary quick play mode to accommodate players interested in standard Othello gameplay. Local multi-card multiplayer rounds the title out nicely, giving players the definitive Othello experience with a perfect interface.
Children who are fans of Neopets could do much worse than Neopets Puzzle Adventure, as could serious fans of puzzle games. While the game is not quite of Puzzle Quest's caliber, it still offers a solid and fun experience that is only hampered by a lack of depth in its story mode.