Originally posted October 19th 2014 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Title: Art of Balance
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 10/9/2014
The main game/story
This is a physics based puzzle game made by Shinen Multimedia, the same minds behind Nano Assault Neo and the upcoming Fast Racing Neo. Having been on the Wii and 3DS already, this is the Wii U version of the game, with more modes and more levels.
The first thing you’ll notice about this game is how amazing the graphics are! On a standard TV like I played it on, it looks excellent and well detailed. On an HD display, it even looks better, and super clean. For a puzzle game, this is remarkable in every way, shape and form.
Music and sound effects:
The music has a relaxing mood to it, and helps you focus on the challenging puzzles ahead. Nothing that’ll make you want to have a CD of it, but it still works very well, and the sound effects work as they should.
For $8.99, you are getting a LOT of content. 13 achievements to gain, 8 worlds to conquer, and a endless endurance mode with online leaderboards make this a great value, even above the 3DS version (Which had a few glitches but overall was a decent port). It also has a few multiplayer modes, but sadly I was unable to test any of these as no one went online for the online mode and I had nobody else to play the game with for the other, so I’m unable to judge these modes.
But let’s talk about the main mode to start off with. There are 8 worlds, each with a lot of levels and numerous gameplay gimmicks in order to keep things fresh. You must simply use all of the shapes and stack them in a way so they will balance just right. It is a simple concept, but the brilliant physics engine keeps things mostly fair and fun. I say “mostly” however as the later stages will introduce gameplay mechanics that will drive you insane, and some of the end game levels are ridiculous in what it wants you to accomplish, with gravity switching and PuyoPuyo style block elimination if two of the same kind come in contact. It still is a lot of fun, but in the later half expect to be irritated at times.
The second mode is the high score based endurance mode. In this mode you must complete as many rounds gathered from the main mode as you can to get the best high score. These are always randomized, and it only includes courses you can currently play. This means if you unlock all of the worlds, it gets very difficult. Yet it also gets you a much higher score. With online leaderboards, this is a really fun way to relax after the stressful main game. Even if it includes the difficult puzzles, the bigger reward is worth it.
Art of Balance has come a long way since the WiiWare era, and it has improved much more than it ever has with the Wii U version. With so many worlds and levels to play, there is a lot of content to be enjoyed in this game. With multiplayer modes, a great high score mode and the brilliant main game mode, I strongly recommend it for the $8.99 price tag. Good values such as this do not come that often. I give Art of Balance an 8 out of 10.
Thanks to Shinen Multimedia for the review code.