Super Stacker Review

By Nelson on July 26, 2011

Super Stacker, originally a flash game by Sparkworkz, has arrived on the PlayStation Network. Those who have already seen or played the flash version won't see much difference between this version and the original, but there is a revamped art style to make things more interesting. But that's not all as there are some other new features to be found that might make this title worth picking up.

There's a simple premise for the game, the object is to stack shapes on top of one another without letting them fall off the screen. It sounds simple enough but this can be quite challenging as the game gives players different shaped objects. There are also some static objects placed in levels to make things more difficult. The game does give some vague hints about how these stacks should be created, but most times it's often a case of working out the one and only way it will work - something that can often lead to frustration, especially on the later levels.

That is however, what Super Stacker is all about. Finally beating a level becomes so much sweeter after numerous failures. What makes it also good is that each stage is actually very different despite there only really being 4 shapes. Combing them together to create a perfect balance is how a player will complete a level, something which the game makes easier by at least allowing the player to see all the shapes that will be given to them one by one.

As a puzzle game it works really well. It's not grossly unfair but at the same time it's challenging enough so not to become just a straight forward blitz through the levels. However, there is a one niggle with the new art style. Previously the flash game had a straight on camera view so players could only see one side of the shape, now it's very slightly off centre so players can see the shapes are 3D. This creates a problem on levels where it isn't immediately obvious where abouts the centre of an object is, and when trying to make something perfectly balance it's certainly not helpful.

There is also the fact that unlike in the flash version of the game whereby using a mouse enabled players to break the shape order and place shapes quickly below another shape as it falls, this is impossible to do now using the analogue stick which moves a lot slower. Though it was probably not the vision of the developers to allow players to do this maneuver in the first place, it did allow players some creative leeway in the puzzles. Which is a shame because once players complete the game there is little reason to replay the levels. That said there are 2 new modes available in Present Stacking and Unstacking.

The first is actually more or less the same as the standard mode except a present must be reached and stayed in contact with. Unstacking on the other hand is very different. Players have to unstack an arrangement of objects in order to get one particular piece to land on a specific platform. This is achieved through exploding set boxes to cause a reaction enabling the piece to land on the correct place. This new mode actually seemed the most fun, though it did seem to have an element of randomness involved as doing the exact same thing didn't always yield the same result.

The game's presentation, as mentioned before, has been updated to a different art style. It's in-keeping with the original game's look as each shape has a face that reacts based on their stability. The looks are quite comedic to see as the stack begins to become unstable. But this wasn't the only addition. Each level now has some very odd scenes happening in the background as well as different music, which disappointingly music loops fairly quickly. The backgrounds can also be distracting as they tend to have random things pop up and make noises which are actually quite grinding on the ears. But overall the game looks a lot better.

While the game is quite lengthy, with 3 modes spanning 40 levels each, there isn't any unlocks aside from the standard progression. There is however local competitive and co-operative gameplay. Though the co-op mode seems pretty weak, as players take turns in placing each block, the actual levels are identical to the single player game. Competitive can be a lot more entertaining as both players build the same stack side by side, so it's possible to collapse your opponent's structure.

Final Thoughts

Super Stacker is a pretty fun title, though since the flash version of the game has the same levels it doesn't really do enough to make it a must have title. The new additions are nice, but the restriction to local multiplayer holds it back. The art style does make the game a lot more eye pleasing and entertaining to look at, but the camera tweak makes the game harder to play. For those who haven't experienced Super Stacker they might want to pick it up, but it's probably wise to try the flash game first before spending that cash.

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