Intelligent Systems have managed to craft another excellent puzzle game.
Intelligent Systems have developed quite a few impressive games, ranging from the popular Paper Mario series to the strategic Fire Emblem franchise. Besides these big-name titles, the developers are also known for developing niche games such as Planet Puzzle League. Their latest game is the DSiWare game Link 'n' Launch, and it is a worthy addition.
Link 'n' Launch is a rather simplistic game in which your goal is to launch a rocket to a destination at the end of a course. To do this, you must move tiles scattered across the touch screen into a certain position so fuel can travel from a fuel cell on the bottom screen to the rocket on the upper screen.
Doing this is easier said than done, though. For one, these pieces can't simply be dragged into position. In order to line up the pieces, they must be rolled around the course. But they must always be rolling along another object, whether it is a piece of land or another tile. Each tile also has a different shape engraved in them that symbolizes how it energy can move through it, ranging from one direction to four. Upon successfully creating a path from the fuel cell to the rocket at the top of the screen, it'll take off and head to the next part of the stage where you’ll have to do the same thing again except with a different arrangement.
Another strategic element of the game is that the rocket can move vertically straight or to the left or right depending on which of the rocket's thrusters you connect the energy cell to. The purpose of this is that you can have a different experience each time you try a level, as each area that your rocket heads to boasts a different puzzle. If you connect it to the middle one, it'll move straight, and if you connect it to the right and it'll head to the left and vice-versa for the left side. Be careful though, as there are boundaries on the side of the course, and if you direct your rocket out of the course, you'll have to restart the stage. The purpose of this is that you can have different experiences each time you try a level as each area that your rocket heads boasts a different puzzle.
Besides trying to get your rocket to the finish as fast as possible, the option is also available to try and connect screws scattered across each area. These items are easy to distinguish from the pack and work very similar to an ordinary tile except if you make the energy move through it, you'll gain the screw. By collecting three of these golden screws, you can upgrade your ship, which will increase its energy efficiency.
Link 'n' Launch is definitely not an easy game. Besides the constant stress of trying to connect the tiles in order to make a path to one of the rocket's thrusters, players are also faced with a three-minute time limit. To extend the amount of time you get, there are special objects scattered across each stage that will help increase your time limit by a little.
There are two different modes that compose Link 'n' Launch. There's a mission mode in which you attempt to propel your ship to a destination planet. This is where players will spend the bulk of their time, but the game's challenge mode is also a nice diversion. Players are presented with the task of using all the tiles in an area to provide the ship with energy. There are quite a few stages here too, making this a very worthwhile addition to the game.
Link 'n' Launch may not be the most innovative new title from Intelligent Systems, but it's still a blast to play. Gamers are getting a rather hefty game that has quite a bit of replay value. If you're looking for a fun new take on the puzzle genre, look no further than Link 'n' Launch.