Azada is a quite unique game. It’s a single puzzle game, made up of many many many different smaller puzzle games. Taken individually these games would probably go unnoticed, but combined they are something a little bit special.
The story follows a young boy, Titus, who is trapped in a magical puzzle book. You must complete the puzzles to open the book and free Titus. Ok – so the story is rather contrived but the gameplay mechanic works very well.
You have a certain amount of time to complete the 9 puzzles that make up each chapter of the book. Some puzzles are easy, and others require more time. Occasionally you can get hints but these reduce your puzzle time for that chapter. Experienced gamers and puzzlers will find that most of the games are quite easy, but there is a certain compulsion that draws you on, keeping you playing.
My favorite mini games are the ones that mimic the adventure games of old (Monkey Island and Sam and Max for example). Hunting for objects and then combining them to create a reaction of some sort – to be honest I’d be happy if there was a game that featured just these types of puzzles. Changing the adventure game so that the items are all on a single screen removes a lot of the frustration I used to feel combining the comb with the banana to make some weird contraption. Sometimes the objects are a little hard to pick out but in general these work really well, and make a nice change of pace from the other options. There are also a variety of colour matching mini games, along with puzzles, tangrams, and move the match style brain teasers.
The game features a wonderful level of polish and sparkle that makes the whole experience a joy. The graphics are very nicely made and, despite the wildly varying locations, have a very cohesive look and add to the overall feel perfectly. Likewise the sound and music are both very complete, never getting in the way, and often adding helpful audio cues.
Once you get into the game you’ll find that things move very quickly and, unfortunately, the end will come all too soon. Thankfully I think the game is just the right length. There are only so many mini games you can play, and they last jut the right amount of time -with enough variety to keep you amused for the 5/6 hours it takes to complete the game.
Yes, it’s short, and sometimes a little easy, but a large part of the enjoyment comes from completing all the games and helping Titus escape from Azada.