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Navigatris

Published by SheepArcade
Price $19.95
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Primary Genre Secondary Genre

It's always a lot of fun to read the taglines that developers give to their games. They are often full of superlatives and exclamations and Navigatris from SheepArcade Game Studio is no different with "Tetris meets funny side of world history in this never-seen-before game genre!". So, is this really a never before seen genre?

As you can see from this early pic, the game mechanics are very obvious - plug the gap with the shapes... These fish jump up during the game and you must click them before they return to the sea to benefit from their powerup.

Normal practice for a game review is to give you an idea of the story and gameplay mechanics for the game. Trouble is, this is a Tetris-based game and I really don't want to explain Tetris. Ever. So, lets assume you know all about the shape rotating joys of this puzzler and skip to the story behind Navigatris.

Imagine you have a boat. Now imagine your boat needs to get from A to B within a time limit. Now, what if your boat was a bit rubbish and had a nasty habit of falling to pieces whilst on the high seas. What would you do? You'd patch it up with Tetris pieces as quickly as possible of course! Add a few time zones and you have Navigatris.

Detailed maps and a story make Navigatris a little different from other Tetris games. Not all time periods look as good as the Egyption levels but the variations are enough to keep you playing for just a little bit longer.

Unlike all those other Tetris clones, your ship fixing antics in Navigatris are mouse controlled with new pieces being continually added to an area at the foot of the screen. As well as the usual shapes, you occasionally get access to special filler shapes that repair whole lines or large squares at once. You also get new powerups as you progress which come in the shape of coloured fish that can stop time, auto-repair your ship and more.

Although the game is infused with the story of you travelling through time periods such as Ancient Egypt, gameplay isn't very far removed from regular Tetris. You have access to 21 levels over 3 time periods but the high level count doesn't amount to much if you've ever played Tetris heavily in the past.

It probably sounds like I'm not a fan of Navigatris, or indeed Tetris. That is partly true. I loved Gameboy Tetris and played for hours in my youth. But since then I've seen copies galore, all adding something new to the mix and all failing to provide as much fun. Navigatris slips into this same category, despite it being a worthy effort.

But on to the good points. Graphics and Audio throughout are excellent, combining happy music, bright visuals and a well defined style, especially so in the Egyption levels. The story, whilst unnecessary, shows some good artwork and provides the occasional smile. Early levels have small tutorials to help you get started.

Whether you choose to stick with Navigatris really depends on your past experience with Tetris. If you've never played this type of game before, or have a child in mind who would benefit from some subliminal history lessons, Navigatris offers a superb starting point which will serve up a few hours of fun. If you've ever spent hours immersed in this genre before, then you'll probably tire of this new remixed version pretty quickly.

In closing, the developer has done a fine job here but I hope that future projects are genuinely new game styles rather than a simple change of play mechanic.

Graphics 80%
Sound 75%
Playability 80%
Longevity 70%
Overall Score 72%
Bronze Star

Published on 16 Dec 2005
Reviewed by Hayden Yale

Keywords: navigatris review, sheeparcade reviews, sheeparcade games, navigatris scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.

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