Game Over Online ~ Ringz

GameOver Game Reviews - Ringz (c) BapSoft, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Ringz (c) BapSoft
System Requirements Palm OS
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Wednesday, January 9th, 2002 at 09:34 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Gaming on the Palm platform emerged with relatively simple concepts. One of the first proponents was the concept of the puzzle game. Just like consoles and traditional console handhelds had their Bust-A-Move, the Palm platform had Bejeweled. The last time my fellow colleague covered Bejeweled in the first part of 2001, it was only for the Palm OS. Now I hear Bejeweled is moving on to the Pocket PC, PC and abroad. Ringz runs in the same vein of Bejeweled. It is a lay type of puzzle game that challenges you to remove rings based on their colour. Rings can only be removed in multiples so if you have a coloured ring that is orphaned, you automatically lose the game.

Many puzzle games breach the fine line between inane frustration and the game itself being too easy. If a title falls into the former category, you have a game that simply isn't worth playing because it involves too much trial and error. Moreover, one wrong move could send you clawing your way back only to try a different, potentially incorrect, avenue. The latter category is no better as you will eventually find yourself playing what seems like a children's instructional tool on basic motor skills. Ringz, luckily, manages to sit in limbo between these two extremes. The first couple of levels, indeed, are easy enough but the hardest levels give the feeling of taking down a very delicate stack of dominoes. The easiest way to describe is through that overplayed, overrated, wooden puzzle game Jenga (and you'll only remember this if you were intellectually conscious in the 1980s). Ringz is a 2D rendition of this. There is a bit of retracing needed for Ringz but not so much that you have to write down your steps on a piece of paper.

You can step out of the puzzle any time you want and return to it later. Your progress is saved but there could have been some ways for Ringz to help you out. The addition of manually saving your game at certain points would have been a boon. Undoing or taking back a particular move would be even better. A hint system that gives approval or disapproval on your moves through tone/pitch would be a great asset as well.

Colour is an absolute must for Ringz. Moreover, it requires Palm OS 3.5.2 above, so it all but eliminates those still running older Palm devices. The overall package is small, containing no more than the bare essential so it would have been easy to fit even on venerable m100s. You don't get any flashy backgrounds, copious amounts of animations or little anime characters running around. In spite of this, I had quite a bit of fun with Ringz on the right hardware. It certainly may not be the blockbuster that we expect from Bejeweled but it has an intellectual approach that is subtle. Your appreciation in the craft of certain levels will grow with each one that you solved. In the process of doing so, you understand how that certain level was created. The first third of the game blows by pretty quickly. It's more like a tutorial. And if you are a veteran brainteaser, the first half won't field too much of a challenge. The real obstacles come in the final third, which arguably is what you paid for.

I thought there was room to make the game expandable and incorporate other levels or even a level editor. Because of the nature of the title, it is extremely portable. The learning curve is slight and it won't make you fumble for the manual. Holistically speaking, the price is fair and would be a greater value if there were some expandability involved. Ringz's visuals remind me a lot of the candy Lifesavers. I'm not sure if the intention was deliberate. However, if you have the right gear to play this title and have the patience for subtle challenges, this will bode to be a fun excursion for you.

[09/10] Addictiveness
[16/20] Gameplay
[12/15] Graphics
[09/10] Interface/controls
[09/10] Program Size
[01/05] Sound
[03/05] Discreetness
[13/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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