Star Wars Puzzle Blaster
Look at what is definitely one of the more unique games to come out using the Star Wars license in this full preview...
Snood (or Bust-a-Move, which is the series that Snood is based on) has invaded homes and college campuses across the world. Super addictive, it's at times almost impossible to put down, which is why THQ Wireless and developer Mobility Entertainment are capitalizing on the game's popularity while at the same time injecting it with some much needed personality in the upcoming Star Wars Puzzle Blaster.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Snood, it's a puzzle game where the object is to connect three faces of the same type, whereupon which they disappear. The majority of the playfield is full of different heads and you're armed with this face launcher type thingy that can be moved from left to right. With it you can shoot heads in almost any direction, and since the game tells you the next two faces that are on deck you're able to do some limited strategizing. If you manage to clear the entire board you win!
Puzzle Blaster is Snood except with Star Wars character characters, so instead of looking at a goofy-looking face you're staring at General Grievous, the Emperor's Royal Guards, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Boba Fett, among other characters. You'll need to clear an entire board to move onto the next level, but just like in other puzzle games, the computer won't always cooperate, so if R2-D2 is the last piece that you need, chances are that Puzzle Blaster will throw you a curve by providing you with a General Grievous or a Chewbacca, so you'll need to be very careful about where you place them on the game board. It's possible to ricochet heads off of walls, so with some precision aiming you'll be finishing puzzles in no time.
There are two main single player modes in Star Wars Puzzle Blaster: Advanced Snood and Snood Hunter. Advanced is the standard issue Snood experience that I just described. Snood Hunter is a lot more interesting. Instead of remaining still, the numerous faces on the playfield move around, so you'll need to react quickly in order to clear stages.
Puzzle Blaster's multiplayer is by far its best feature because it allows you to wirelessly compete against players from around the U.S. The mode works extremely well, and after you win you can rub it in your opponent's face by posting your high scores, providing that you think Snood is so competitive that it warrants trash talking.
Since this game is Star Wars Snood it has a been there/done that feel that reduces its luster. Also, if you're looking for sneaky Episode III spoilers you won't find them here. This is a straight up puzzle game that'll mainly appeal to Star Wars fans, but if you're a casual player there's a lot to love about it. It certainly plays well, though I noticed that the face launcher is a bit twitchy and doesn't smoothly move across the screen, so when I pressed left or right too hard it skipped a frame of animation and wound up an extra space too far, which resulted in me pressing the shoot button and watching as Darth Vader (who can cut right through any Snoods) went in the wrong direction.
Unlike THQ's other Episode III games there's nothing particularly thrilling about Puzzle Blaster (though there is a Meet the Snoods option that gives you info on each character). Again, it's Snood/Bust-a-Move, so you get what you pay for: a fun and very solid puzzle game that's great to play while on long car rides or waiting for your date to return from the bathroom. Look for it when it releases this May, hopefully just before the movie debuts.