Published on April 21st, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
Starzzle Xbox Indie Review
Platform: Xbox LIVE Indie Games
Price: 80 MS Points
Developer: Bionic Thumbs
Starzzle is a charming Xbox Indie puzzler developed by Bionic Thumbs that incorporates whimsical humor with a positive atmosphere that can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. Don’t let the graphics fool you–although it appears to be a kid’s game, the Xbox Indie title is actually quite challenging in it’s dynamics. The game takes a cartoonish style and uses it to compliment the top-down 2D maze-puzzler gameplay and makes use of simplistic yet appealing graphics.
Players must collect stars in each level, progressing onward to the next only when most of the shiny, gleeful stars are collected. Overall the game is refreshing and the puzzle mechanics are quite unique–let’s not forget the excessively cheerful music and the constantly-moving atmosphere that imbibes a sense of joy within the player.
Starzzle is more of a maze-puzzle type of game that uses a unique path mechanic that only allows players to move up, down, left or right. Players must plan their moves and think before they start the level, and sometimes the only way to know the correct method is to try it a few times.
I personally like the mechanics involved and it’s challenging, but it may be too tedious for some players. Despite the mixed feelings some may have, I believe Starzzle is an impressively challenging and fun Xbox Indie title.
There are four different worlds each replete with a number of stages for players to solve, with every level becoming progressively more difficult than the last. Each world has it’s own particular theme, and the environments and atmospheres for every one are as dynamic as the first.
This game makes good use of making players refine their problem solving techniques as the game only allows for movement in four directions–it’s impossible to move in a circular or diagonal path. This dynamic is unique and makes the game somewhat challenging as players must fight their own instincts of grabbing the nearest star before planning their next move–strategy is key in this game, and some may have to utilize trial and error to complete later stages.
Starzzle also makes use of Challenges, which are basically like Awardments in other Xbox Indie titles and like Achievements in retail Xbox 360 games. Each challenge is different and requires players to complete a certain task to unlock it. The worlds themselves remind me of early NES/SNES titles with the layouts and design–this nostalgic factor enhances the entertainment that this game can offer.
The overall exuberant tone of this game is quite entertaining and humorous–using rather enjoyable visuals like cartoonish characters and animations to reinforce the overall feel of the game. Starzzle‘s unique style, gleeful musical tracks, and puzzle dynamics all come together to form an original and fun Xbox Indie experience. While some gamers may not enjoy the tedious and trial-and-error maze-like puzzles in the game, I’d recommend this title to all gamers who enjoy puzzlers that make players think strategically.
+ Addictive & Enjoyable
+ Appropriate for All Ages
+ Many Stages to Play
+ Humorous and Whimsical Cartoonish Style
– Somewhat Challenging Puzzles
– Awkward Controls on Some Levels