Review Date: September 4, 2010
Developer: Different Pixel
Publisher: Different Pixel
Match three games are, essentially, all the same. You can wrap it up like an RPG as in Puzzle Quest or throw in a virtual fish tank like in Fishdom, but the core gameplay is still the same. Vizati changes this notion. With a new game mechanic that has you moving the grid instead of the pieces, it feels wholly unique. It may be a bit on the difficult side, but with a terrific atmosphere and fresh new gameplay it's perfect for puzzle fans.
Turning Your World Upside Down
Unlike most puzzle games, Vizati actually has a story to tell. It's not particularly in-depth or engaging, but it's definitely fun and ties in nicely to the gameplay. It involves two young children who come across a bizarre, moving cube that's simply floating in the air. Perplexed as to just what it is, they enlist the help of friends and family to solve the mystery.
The reason that cube is moving, though, is that it's the grid on which you play Vizati. Where as most match three games have you shift gems around a grid to create groups of three or more, Vizati instead has you shifting the grid around them. By flipping, rotating, and nudging the grid, you can use the power of gravity to move the blocks around with the exact same goal: create groups of three or more to clear them away. The story mode of the game has fifty stages, and each one tasks you with clearing away all of the blocks in a certain number of moves. Fail to do so and you'll have to start again.
For many of the levels finding the solution is surprisingly difficult and will require much trial and error before you stumble across the correct answer. While it's good for those looking for a challenge, this set-up will inevitably frustrate most players at some point. There is no way to skip levels and come back to them later, so if you happen to find yourself stuck there's really nothing you can do but continue to try and beat that same level over and over again.
A Children's Book Come To Life
In addition to the story mode, Vizati also features an arcade mode, which unlocks once you complete level 15 of the story mode. The goals here are different and are constantly changing as well. In the beginning there's a meter at the side of the screen and you can fill it up by clearing blocks. Once the meter is full, you move on to the next level. Nice and simple. But there's more. You'll also see a timer at the top of the screen that counts down and once it reaches zero more blocks will be added. So the incentive is to clear things away as quickly as possible, as having more blocks in the way makes things much more difficult. The rules also change along the way, and soon enough instead of trying to fill up a meter you'll have to eliminate certain numbers of each color of block. This helps ensure that things always stay interesting.
To go along with its children's book-like story, Vizati also features a very children's book-like presentation. The beautiful visuals are somehow charming yet dark at the same time, and the way the landscape frequently shifts from night to day is simply stunning. It's a testament to the childlike wonder of the art style that a giant floating block doesn't feel out of place. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is equally haunting, and really helps enhance the overall experience.
The Bottom Line
Unless the level of challenge that the game presents is too intimidating, there's really no reason for puzzle fans not to play Vizati. With a unique puzzle mechanic, beautiful production values, and two different modes of play, it's an absolute joy to play. But the difficulty level is pretty high and can result in more than a few frustrating moments. But if you can look past that, Vizati offers up a great puzzle experience.