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Neves


Neves is to Seven as Egareva is to... Average.
The Nintendo DS has proven to be a great platform for a variety of different genres, and puzzle games are certainly well-represented. Yuke’s Media attempts to claim their piece of the puzzle pie with Neves, which is seven spelled backwards. There’s a reason for this, and it has nothing to do with the David Fincher movie from 1995. We’ll get to that reason as we go, of course.

Gameplay

The idea behind Neves is to arrange seven different tiles to create a picture that the game displays. There are animals, objects, characters, and more… over 500 different images, to be precise. In order to do this, players must rotate, slide, and manipulate the seven pieces and use them all. There’s a lot of trial of error here, which will keep some players interested while frustrating others. We’ve seen a similar concept before by way of Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy, but the distinct difference is that there are always only seven pieces with which to recreate the target image… hence the Neves/seven relationship.

Along with the variety of images, Yuke’s attempts to add some replay value by way of a few different gameplay modes. The basic Puzzle mode pits players against puzzles with no limits to time or moves. Once you’ve got the basics down, there are additional challenges like Count Mode (which allots only seven moves per puzzle), Time Mode (where you have a set time limit to complete each puzzle), and Versus Mode. Versus Mode is a single-card wireless challenge to see who can complete a set number of puzzles first. These modes and the sheer number of puzzles may seem impressive, but they’re really not all that remarkable. Most puzzle fans will get a handful of hours worth of gameplay out of Neves, and the extra modes really don’t add much to the overall experience—- other than adding pressure that’s easily overcome once you’ve played through the puzzles a few times to learn their nuances.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, Neves is fairly straightforward. The visuals are pretty generic, although the puzzle images have a fair amount of variety to them. The success of most puzzle games is rarely predicated on the visuals involved, so it’s hard to find fault with what Neves provides here. The music sounds like it’s pulled from an older SNES title, with an emphasis on peppy jazz. (If you remember Data East’s version of Side Pocket for the SNES, you’ll have an idea of what’s here.) It’s decent at first, but tends to loop and can quickly become annoying if you’re stuck on a puzzle for too long.

The Final Verdict

Perhaps the biggest fault with Neves lies in its price point. This is an extremely average and bare-bones puzzle game, but the suggested retail price is a full $30. Comparatively, you can buy Picross DS or Puzzle Quest for $10 less, and both games have far more to offer in terms of gameplay modes and depth. If Yuke’s had offered it for $20 at launch, or if the game had been delayed past the busy holiday season, it might have been somewhat easier to recommend since there’s always a market for games like this one that can be played in quick spurts. For full price, though, there are just too many other games that outshine Neves in almost every way and it’s better to just skip it altogether.