Underneath the unnecessary license is an excellent puzzle game. Find out what makes RPA so surprisingly great.
Rampage Puzzle Attack is probably not a game you’ve heard of. That’s a damn shame. Developer Ninai Games (along with some helpful feedback from Tetris creator Alexei Pajitnov, according to the credits) has crafted a very simple, very addictive puzzle formula that is best described as being somewhere between Puyo Puyo and Tetris Attack. The block “physics” are very much like what you’d see in Puyo Puyo, but you have a limited choice of which blocks to drop at any given time, and you make that choice with a Tetris Attack-style cursor to rearrange your available blocks. I guess it’s kind of hard to explain in words, but I was clearing out blocks almost immediately.
The ease of learning to play will become quite handy when you try out the single-pak multiplayer mode, arguably this game’s most impressive feature. Setting up a two-player game is a snap, load times are great (quicker than Bomberman Tournament), and the gameplay is just perfectly suited to multiplayer. You’ll have no problem convincing family and friends to play...just say “it’s like Tetris” and they’ll come running. And if you have any hardcore puzzle friends available...say goodbye to sleep. With two people of equal skill playing, a single match can easily last over half an hour, and you’ll both love every minute of it. Maybe it’s a shame that multiplayer is only for two people and not four, but I’m not sure that four playing fields on the screen at once would even be a good idea.
If you don’t have another player or GBA handy, Rampage Puzzle Attack’s single-player modes will keep you occupied for hours...many hours. The first time I turned on RPA, I ended up playing for over three hours. It’s that fun and addictive. Clear and Rescue are both unique enough to warrant playing each, and the extremely challenging Puzzle mode could almost be its own game. There’s also a marathon mode if you want to play Tetris-style, but it’s not quite as challenging or compelling as the others...still, it’s nice to have.
On the aesthetic front, RPA delivers bright, colorful graphics and tolerable sound. There aren’t enough songs to keep me from turning the volume down eventually...and where’s the classic Rampage music? Also, my friend complained that he sometimes got two of the colors confused...not a problem for me, so maybe he’s a tad color-blind. But that would certainly detract from the game’s playability if you share his problem. Also, password-haters should know that RPA does indeed lack a battery for saving your progress through the single-player modes. The passwords aren’t long and you won’t need them at all for multiplayer, but it’s still a slight disappointment.
Overall, Midway and Ninai Games have produced a fantastic new puzzle game. The Rampage license is pitifully out of place here, but if such silly marketing allows great games like this one to see the light of day, I can deal with it. Puzzle fans and anyone looking for a great GBA multiplayer experience should immediately go out and bag this little sleeper hit.