Setup & Timing
The basic setup of the game is very simple and easy to navigate. On the main menu, there are two options: Single and Multi. From Multi, the two downloadable options (Download Battle and Demo Download) are clearly labeled and easily understood. Opening credits are short and skippable. Download time is much faster than average.
Menus & Navigation
Menu options are comprised simply of huge, clearly-understood labels, and the tapping accuracy is accurate.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
The game's controls are entirely based on tapping. The spots in which you tap are pretty small, but the game's tap detection is very accurate. As it stands, the small size of the hexagon-shaped spaces adds to the challenge of accuracy. However, if options like the gauge, the timer, the score, etc. were moved to the upper screen, the playing area on the lower screen could either be zoomed in to make everything larger (and easier) or increased to add more spaces (add madd to the challenge and strategy), while still maintaining an option for the current size.
Graphically, Puchi Puchi Virus has a light, comic style. The images are sharp on the upper screen's animations, but all eyes are on the tiny, sometimes-moving virii on the lower screen when playing. The sound is very important to have on while playing. The only thing that will get through is the sound effects, but they can be essential, going so far as to alert players when they've missed the screen when trying to tap by not sounding off (and, believe it or not, players can and will miss the screen when things really get going speed-wise). Feature-wise, there aren't a lot of options: the only selectable option is the difficulty level for the Download Battle. The primary aspects of the main game are all in the downloadable content, with the exception of the patient cards, which could've been included in a challenge mode. Everything else, however, is included.
Category Score: 12.5 / 15
Before I began playing Puchi Puchi Virus, I wasn't sure what to expect. The game was over two years old by the time it came to North America, and it didn't get any fanfare. There was no advertising and no mention... pretty much anywhere. So, going in, I figured: average but cute little puzzle game. Puzzle game, definitely. Cute, matter of opinion, but in the good way, I think yeah. Average? Far from it.
The triangle mechanic itself is unique. The hex board, while overutilized in other game arenas, is still not too common on the Nintendo DS. While most action puzzle games on the Nintendo DS involve falling, sliding, or rising pieces, Puchi Puchi Virus has virii spontaneously popping up that need to be dealt with, with a sort of randomness that other puzzle games just can't match. It's a variation from the norm in a way that was much needed. On top of that, the mechanics are strong and the game is enjoyable, not just different. I enjoyed Puchi Puchi Virus and to any fan of repetitive action puzzlers like Tetris DS, Meteos, Trioncube, and expecially Puyo POP FEVER, I highly recommend giving Puchi Puchi Virus a shot. I guarantee this won't be the last time I play it.
Move the information gagues to the upper screen - the gauge, the timer, the score, etc. - and offer to enlarge the playing area (Easy) or increase it (Hard).
Include a challenge mode featuring the patient cards.
Offer several (optional) power ups to increase variety.
Category Score: 13.5 / 15
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 88 / 100 (a.k.a. 44/50)
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