There has been a myriad of talk relating to dimensions in entertainment. We are now capable of watching television programs and playing video games in 3D, and soon we will have a handheld system with glasses-free 3D. But in Puzzle Dimension, you are not simply seeing images pop out at you from the screen. Instead, you are thrust into a world where your viewpoint and the laws of gravity change with every move. And you have to solve puzzling challenges through all of this. That is the mystique of Puzzle Dimension.
The gameplay in Puzzle Dimension is relatively simple to learn. The arrow keys move your golden marble one tile in the direction you choose. Pushing the space bar will jump the marble over the adjacent tile to the next one. Holding Shift and using the arrow keys will let you change the camera angle, while pushing C will enter camera mode, allowing you to see the entire level from whatever angle you desire. Constant use of the camera will be pivotal to success as you start rolling up and down different lanes of tiles, with the camera angle and gravity altering themselves, one tile at a time.
Your goal in each of Puzzle Dimension’s 100 levels is to collect all of the flowers, thus activating the exit portal for you to escape through. The levels are split up into 10 different worlds, each introducing its own new gimmicks (such as slippery ice tiles, sand tiles, and furnaces). Each world will have a few simpler levels to ease you into the new additions to the game. Then it will drop you into full-fledged levels and challenge you to complete them all on your own. Planning ahead is essential to completing many of the puzzles in Puzzle Dimension. Most of the puzzles have only one solution, and it is necessary to collect every flower as well as leaving yourself a path to the exit portal in order to complete the level. Camera mode will help you look around the entire puzzle to plan out your trek. I would have preferred to have the ability to move while in camera mode, as it can be valuable in many puzzles to know what may lie many tiles ahead.
If you get stuck on a puzzle, you can move to any other puzzle in that world, as well as move to another world, provided you have collected enough flowers to unlock the next world. The difficulty of the puzzles escalates as the world progresses, but even as it gets challenging, never does it feel as if the game’s only purpose of existence is to make it impossible for you to succeed. Those who persevere through and complete each level will experience a strong sense of gratification.
Amassing points in Puzzle Dimension is as simple as rolling over as many tiles as you can, collecting all the flowers, and finishing the level as quickly as possible. Each tile you roll adjacent to will net you points, as will picking up a flower. Getting many points in a short amount of time increases the multiplier, while the amount of points you can gain from a level decreases over time. Those looking to increase their score will play through the game’s 100 levels multiple times, and get some great value out of achieving a new personal best. Even if you only play through each puzzle once, there's about 5-10 hours of gaming to be had (all dependent on your puzzle-solving ability).
Puzzle Dimension has an interesting blend of graphical styles. The golden marble you control is well detailed. The tiles it rolls on start out as simple, unimpressive tiles, but when you approach them, the pixels break up into a full blown 3D tile that is visually appealing. The flowers are presented as large 8-bit objects sitting atop a tile (think 3D Dot Game Heroes). This contrast of new and retro graphics gives the game a nice signature look. There are unlockable themes in the game that will allow you to change up the graphics, in case you get bored of the default scheme. The soundtrack is simple and sticks to chiptune songs that would feel right at home in a retro puzzle game, with some modern, digital tunes thrown into the mix, further playing up the presentation’s theme of contrast.
In Puzzle Dimension, Doctor Entertainment has created a devious puzzler that twists your mind in countless ways. While it can sometimes feel dizzying as the world flip-turns upside down, the constant change of perspective adds a layer of depth and complexity not seen in most puzzle games, giving your brain the big test of skill that all good puzzle games should strive for. Currently available on Steam for the PC, with a Mac version coming soon, Puzzle Dimension is well worth its current $10 price tag to anyone looking for a test of wits.