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NDS Preview - 'Honeycomb Beat'

by Thomas Wilde on Feb. 11, 2007 @ 12:23 p.m. PST

Combining hypnotic music with brain teasing challenges that everyone can enjoy, Honeycomb Beat features intuitive touch screen puzzle action across three modes of play that lets gamers try to clear hexagonal Honeycombs from the game board.

Genre : Puzzle
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Hudson Soft
Release Date: Spring 2007

Konami recently vocally renewed their long-standing partnership with Hudson Soft, one of the older developers in the business today. Konami and Hudson are teaming up, it seems, to support the hell out of Nintendo, with games like Kororinpa: Marble Mania and, more relevantly, Honeycomb Beat for the Nintendo DS.

Honeycomb Beat is an example of a game that no portable system can have enough of: the elegantly simple, horribly addictive puzzle game. The “honeycomb” in question derives from the puzzle’s structure, a series of interlocking octagons. Touch an octagon with your stylus, and it flips over, changing its color and the color of the octagons around it. If you can change all the octagons on a row to the same color, you destroy the row. If the octagons rise up to the point where they fill the screen, you lose.

It sounds uncomplicated. It isn’t. It’s a lot harder than you’d think at first glance, particularly as the level wears on and the rows start rising faster and faster. It tests a different set of reflexes than, say, Tetris or Meteos, as you can really easily screw up the entire puzzle without thinking about it.

(Then, when you inevitably lose, it evaulates you and ranks your Brain Evolution according to the animal that you apparently most resemble. It called me Mitochondria. I am annoyed.)

That’s Honeycomb Beat’s Evolution Mode, a rising/falling-block puzzle game in the relatively classical vein. You can also play Puzzle Mode, which will require you to form different shapes or patterns. The harder the puzzle, the more complex the patterns become.

Like Lumines, you can unlock new backgrounds, themes, and music as you advance through Honeycomb Beat. The game apparently revolves heavily around music, but it was difficult to tell as much in the noisy environment of Konami Gamers’ Day. The gameplay alone was enough to get and hold attention, though.

Honeycomb Beat is entertaining, even if the Brain Evolution ratings make me sort of irate. (It’s a fun kind of irate, though.) If Tetris DS and Meteos have begun to wear a little thin for you, Honeycomb Beat presents a different kind of challenge but the same kind of relentlessly addictive appeal. It’s landing in stores in the spring of 2007, just in time for the end-of-year software tsunami.

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