Original puzzle games are a rarity nowadays, finding one that really makes players sit back and think are few and far between. Voodoo Dice is exactly that, as the latest downloadable title from Exkee forces players to plan ahead and think about their actions before taking them. This is of course very different from Exkee's last title 'Colorz' for WiiWare, which consisted of players using fast reactions to guide spaceships in a side-scrolling puzzle game. Voodoo Dice sounds less exciting than flying spaceships but it's not always about the excitement, sometimes it's just about the puzzles.
Voodoo Dice lets players take control of a six-sided die (dice) to solve puzzles and reach the goal at the end of every level. The game consists of sixty levels based over four game worlds, each with very different environments, though this is purely from a visual perspective. After each level is completed, players earn a jewel which allows them to access more levels and eventually unlock all four of the game worlds. Each level is very different from the last, introducing various puzzles and enemies to keep the gameplay fresh and new. The various levels certainly do make the game a lot more interesting, introducing new ideas and solutions are the best way to keep players from getting bored and losing interest.
The complexity of some of the puzzles is surprising considering the player can literally move in just four directions. Puzzles usually consist of other dice that block the path of the player which is remedied by moving their die next to them with the same number on the top face. Explaining it may not be easy but the tutorials show exactly what players need to do whenever the situation arises. These tutorials are very clear in how to overcome certain situations and allow players to progress to the end goal. In a puzzle game, it's very important to explain to the player how things work, Voodoo Dice does this really well, there is no confusion about what to do aside from how to solve the puzzle, you know, the point of the game.
Later levels include more complex puzzles complete with well designed enemies like the Goddice that spurts out fire to make things even trickier. These enemies must be avoided, and sometimes directed, to reach the next part of a puzzle, which eventually leads to the end of a level. Match these enemies with sinking platforms, power-ups and arrow tiles to guide the die, and the game really does set its own standard in the puzzle genre. The game isn't without its faults however, the puzzles can become a little too complex sometimes and instead of providing a challenge, it becomes a pain. Whenever the die is burnt, drowned, crushed or succumbs to a curse, players must restart the level again and this can become irritating after putting in the time to work out a puzzle.
The latter half of the game is of course very time consuming, obviously due to the fact that this is where all the complicated puzzles are found. It is also most likely the point in the game in which players will lose interest, the constant failure and restarts are soul crushing and such a turn off. Having hints or tips in a few of the later levels would have been a welcoming alternative to the minutes spent trying to work out what exactly the player is supposed to do. Another factor that will have gamers losing interest is the lack of rewards given for accomplishing the levels. New skins are available at every milestone, but are hardly a reason to spend hours working out the irritating later levels.
When players are fed up of puzzles they can play with friends in the game's local multiplayer. There are four different game types to try out. Race mode allows players to race through levels to reach the finish line; flag mode involves players keeping a flag away from their opponents. Tactic mode is a case of battling each other through a turn-based system and lastly Arcade mode, where the aim is to simply destroy more dice than the other players. Playing these games is a nice alternative but simply unnecessary, there are many other multiplayer games out there but it's the puzzles that make this game unique.
In conclusion, this game is fun up until the last set of levels and there is a good amount of variety in each world's puzzles, which is very fresh and interesting. The game's cartoony visuals are meant to add a fun atmosphere to the game, but with the main focus being about solving puzzles, these are often overlooked. Multiplayer is a bit underwhelming but the single player is what this game is based around and for the most part it is fun but it certainly has its problems. Puzzle solvers will probably enjoy Voodoo Dice for the challenge it brings but most gamers will more than likely lose interest and move on.