I’ve been playing Kurupoto Cool Cool Stars for the DS. If you’ve never heard of this game, there is probably a reason, that being that it is not exactly well-done. The translation is nearly incomprehensible, and it’s an extremely simple game to begin with, so I doubt it has many fans. Still, I am a puzzle addict, so that doesn’t stop me.
It’s very obviously a children’s game– you can tell this from the beginning, which is about how the moon sneezed and the stars fell down to earth (a more G-rated tale than Katamari.) The stars have to retrieve their haloes, and they are aided in their quest by a family of pastel squares who strongly resemble Snood blocks, particularly when you complete a level. There are yodeling trees, and everyone is kind to each other and has the best of intentions. Also, it’s almost painfully easy. After completing a handful of constellations, no more were to be found, and I had thought that I had completed the game– and was only a little bit surprised when the ending appeared to consist entirely of a random picture of a dog.
However, I tried to restart the game on “normal mode” (without story) and I found a whole slew of new constellations with different puzzles to be completed. The new ones were slightly harder, so I hoped that the game gets harder over time. However, the difficulty hasn’t really gone up since then, so I’m starting to lose hope for that, and my patience in trudging my way through the easy levels is wearing thin. It isn’t entirely pointless, though– the puzzles are easy, and as I’m turning and examining them, I often end up brute-forcing a solution completely by accident. But finishing them in the shortest possible number of turns (earning a golden crown atop the star) is sometimes a bit challenging in that it requires looking at it closely and often repeating the level, so even if it doesn’t get harder, it’s not a complete waste for me. Also, it’s a good time-filler– the puzzles are quite short and the game auto-saves your progress, so you can pick it up for even a minute and do a level or two.
I wouldn’t actually recommend this game to adults– anyone who likes puzzles is most likely good enough at them that this game will be too easy. However, I think it would be fun for a kid, if that kid can sit still through lots of similar puzzles and not get bored.