It's pretty rare that something truly interesting or innovative is done by a major game company, and it's almost unheard of when that new development is made totally free to gamers, but that's exactly what Sega's done in SEGA Swirl, a great puzzle game that has come out simultaneously for Windows and Sega's own Dreamcast console. Swirl is a simplistic game by puzzle game standards, but its most unique feature is the fact that it can be played multiplayer over the Internet by both PC and Dreamcast users. |
Like other good puzzle games, it takes thirty seconds to learn the basics, but countless hours of hair-pulling to pass each increasingly difficult level. The idea is deceptively simple: remove contiguous pieces of the same color. The game board is a grid of differently-colored swirls, and clicking one will highlight it and any same-colored swirls touching it. Clicking it again will remove the group and shuffle the swirls above it into place. You're awarded more points for getting bigger combos, and successful completion of a level depends on not only clearing the board of swirls but also meeting a certain number of preset goals, such as "at least one combo with fourteen or more pieces." Add these win criteria to the online multiplayer against PC and console users alike, and it's clear Sega has a winner in their hands with this addictive puzzler. Although the PC version has fewer multiplayer options than the Dreamcast one (which was included for free with every Dreamcast unit sold), it is still enough to glue you to the screen for hours on end. The only gripe I have is that each level is static – the starting pattern of swirls stays the same every time you play that same level, so if you remember what you did, you will always beat that level the same way. Still, it's free, and the small download size (2.65MB) means you have no excuse not to try out this excellent, very addictive underdog. Highly recommended, especially to fans of brainteasers who don't want to think under time pressure. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs