Hey hey hey! It's everyone's favorite jigsaw puzzle game, Pieces! It blows all other jigsaw puzzle games on SNES away, yeah! Yahoo! It's awesome...too bad it's the only one. Actually, there are VERY few console jigsaw puzzle games in existence, PERIOD, but it's nice to see the SNES do something different. While there are one or two other jigsaw puzzle games in the U.S. like Jigsaw Madness for Playstation (developed by Nippon Ichi), I'm proud to say that Pieces really is the best jigsaw puzzle game I've played.
The graphics of the game are relatively simple. Everything is easy to recognize and the pictures themselves are pretty nice. Everything about the visuals is satisfactory or better, which should suffice since graphics aren't the first thing that comes to mind when I play a puzzle game. The music in this game is also nice and often mellow or peaceful. It doesn't distract you from the meat and potatoes of this game, the gameplay.
Still, you gotta ask yourself: "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?". Wait a minute...wrong example. What I meant to say was: "How can you make this even better (or boring) than a regular old jigsaw puzzle? Is it really worth paying five...ten...twenty times the price of a jigsaw puzzle in a dollar store?" My answer to that is yes. You can easily make a jigsaw puzzle more than just a jigsaw puzzle with a little ingenuity and the game pays for itself by supplying you with many different puzzles. This game takes the old mundane pastime called a jigsaw puzzle and turns it into a competitive game of "Who can piece the puzzle first?" That's not all though. You also have power meters, nifty powerups, and many puzzles to beat your friends or enemies at. You gotta be the first to finish three puzzles consecutively (in the normal game) in order to win, and with abilities that scramble your controls, slow your cursor down, knock pieces back into your hand, reflect incoming attacks back, call a helper, and more...you'll never believe how much fun you can have with a small puzzle.
The game also has a mode called "All Play" that allows up to four players to play in a competitive game of putting together a puzzle. You can select the difficulty as well as the genre of puzzle (Animation, Sports, etc.). During this mode, puzzle pieces may flash and if you set a flashing piece in the right spot, a roulette goes off that has a variety of effects. Players must use the roulette to help get extra points to stay ahead of the competition. You can't be too reliant on placing flashing pieces down...because you can also lose points from the roulette too. After three rounds, you will play a bonus stage that requires players to look at two images. While they appear identical, the image on the right has 10 differences from the image on the left. It's up to you to find them. Guessing wrong causes you to lose points. Guessing right gains you bonus points to beat other players. All Play mode has you play eight stages and two bonus stages for a total of ten stages. As far as challenge, the AI of the CPU also rarely skips a beat, so you know you'll get a moderately decent challenge and maybe even get whooped a few times in the ordinary game if you have no friends to play.
Pieces isn't the greatest puzzle game of all time, but it's a worthy addition to any SNES fans library. The only problem is that tracking down a copy of this game isn't an easy task, and finding a copy of the Japanese version may prove to be even MORE difficult. Still, the game isn't too expensive as far as rare games go. Get a copy while you still can!- Written by Vyse the determined -