As the Nintendo Switch library continues to expand on the eShop, it can be difficult to find this one within the depths of all the games presently available. This is because Mentori Puzzle hasn’t been officially released outside of Japan; this is a game based on a product line of Japanese stickers handled by the company that helped make the Switch versions of Namco Museum and Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2. How does this game fare as a new addition to the genre on the Switch and is it worth going onto Japan’s version of the eShop to get it? Read on to find out.
Mentori Puzzle has a very clean, cartoon-y look not unlike other block puzzlers that have already graced the Switch. What makes the game aesthetically different from the others is how the characters are various species of birds. They are faithful to how they’re presented in stickers and the bits of animation they feature are welcome. Mentori Puzzle generally has an inviting, colorful visual feel to it as can be expected for games in the genre. After all, if it ain’t broke – why fix it?
Accompanying the pleasing art style is the soundtrack, which gives off a considerably lighthearted tone save for the final world’s theme. I’m not that big a fan of the direction taken for it; Mentori Puzzle is one of those games that dials it back in favor of a relaxing puzzle experience. While I do understand what they were going for, I feel like a catchier sort of soundtrack would’ve been better. At least the sound effects add to the game feel appropriately – namely when objects pop and combos are racked up.
This game is a block puzzler where you drop multicolored birds in pretty much the same way you drop Puyo in Puyo Puyo Tetris. However, the only way the birds pop are via white fuzzballs you drop on command. Imagine lighting a fuse with a match; fuzzballs can set off color chains in a similar manner and any birds that connect with others of the same color when they fall proceed to pop as well. Playing fields with lots of these birds are ripe for combo reactions and it’s always satisfying to pull them off in succession. Mentori Puzzle definitely has the gameplay to be a memorable puzzler. It’s the content where things begin to falter, though.
The single-player mode is easily the most prominent part of Mentori Puzzle. You play through 40 levels and each level has a series of objectives for you to achieve. As you achieve these objectives a portion of a picture is unraveled. The pictures are viewable in the Album feature and can be put into context via a series of four-panel comics. As for any other playable modes, well…there isn’t much. While the single-player can last a fair amount of time, the only other way to play the game is a local vs. mode between two players. Online play would’ve added a lot to this title but it’s a local affair only. The difficulty is also rather on the low side when it comes to playing through the single-player. Only in later levels did I feel the challenge increase thanks to the way certain objectives followed up on each other.
Overall, Mentori Puzzle has the foundations for a good puzzle game. At its best, it is a solid way to kill time and feel good about scoring points. However, the lack of varying ways to play does feel like it’s holding back a little. It’s not a bad game by any means. I would say it’s in fact a worthy-enough game that could curb one’s cravings. When it comes to this kind of game, though, more features – specifically online play – is a must. As such, I continue to feel more inclined to play Puyo Puyo Tetris than the other block puzzlers available. Nevertheless, it’s a fine game in its own right, and playing through has its merits.
Review copy provided by I.T.L.