PUZZLEBOX setup is a curiously named new eShop release, with a unique hook.  To play this title, you hold your 3DS upside down!  Using your stylus to select from colored columns (which are now on the top screen) tiles will fall, hopefully in appropriate colors and quantities to finish a picture (called setup).  The tutorial explains the process better than I, but it’s easily grasped.

Icon_3There are two modes in the game.  Classic has you completing a picture that slowly scrolls along the bottom.  You can pick from two speeds, but even the slower one gives you the option to quicken things up with just a tap of the stylus.  The design shows consideration for gamers of varying experience.  The other mode is Copycat, with single screen puzzles and a focus on speed.  The lure for faster times is a replay incentive (as is reducing the displayed average completion time), but there’s no means to enter initials and challenge friends – Miiverse will have to suffice.   The columns are much narrower here (even on an XL) which can make certain puzzles more challenging, coupled with time emphasis.  It’s different, but overall I prefer the more imaginative Classic Mode.

Getting tile chains of five or more earns you combo coins.  A certain number are needed to advance as well as unlock additional tile sets.  There are over 2300 combo coins to try and acquire.  Completionists will definitely want to get them all in their quest to 100% the game.  It is on the shorter side – it took me about 4 hours to collect all the combo coins – but I still haven’t gotten 100% for every classic puzzle yet, nor tried them all on fast.

I was unsure how holding the 3DS upside down would feel and work, but I’m pleased to say the results are quite satisfying.  It’s not too awkward and quickly gotten used to.  I didn’t even think about it before long, concentrating on the puzzles instead.  I found myself playing them for longer stretches of time than anticipated.  ‘One more’ soon turned into three of four.  The game grows on you.

This is a visually pleasing title.  It’s vivid, and is at its best when using diverse colors.  The graphics seem to have a bit of a seasonal theme, with spring, summer, fall, and winter all being represented.  Unlockable tiles add some fun visual diversity, and are all superior to the default ones.  The animated activity taking place in the background enhances the pixel art without distracting.  For being upside down, the 3D effects are solid.  The music is an interesting if uneven mix.  It definitely contributes to the more relaxed feeling the game has.  One track in particular (an Irish sounding blend of percussion, string, and wind instruments) is my favorite, and makes me wish the game had a music player.

PUZZLEBOX setup is very unique – I don’t think I’ve ever played anything else quite like it.  That alone should draw some gamers.  Others will be won over with the enjoyable gameplay and charming presentation.  For those on the fence the low price of just $2.99 may prompt them into checking it out.  Broad in appeal, PUZZLEBOX setup is a fun game that I recommend adding to your 3DS digital library.