It's been four months since the launch of the Nintendo 3DS eShop - a game download service that Nintendo originally promised would feature numerous unique first- and third-party releases.

That promise hasn't exactly been fulfilled - in fact, the eShop is looking a bit like a wasteland. We'd had Let's Golf! 3D - a port of a mobile game - and that's about it.

Finally, a second offering has come along, and this time it's actually original content. Pyramids is a retro-styled platform puzzler that follows an Indiana Jones-a-like hero, journeying his way through a variety of dangerous Egyptian tombs.

Unfortunately, while Pyramids does begin to test your noggin rather a lot as you get into it, it's ultimately a rather leaden experience.

Toot toot, come in!

In each of Pyramids's 54 levels, you need to grab an artefact and then escape through the open door to safety, while possibly grabbing some extra gold along the way.

You can smash blocks, build blocks in front of you, jump and shoot a gun. Using a combination of these skills, you have to scale tombs walls, dodge flaming arrow traps, and blast snakes out of his way.

The variety of traps and ideas on show is great, and while some of the initial puzzles are a little too simple the level design eventually picks up and provides some real head-scratching situations.

It gets even more tricky when you attempt to collect the extra stars, which you earn by grabbing all of the treasure in a level and exiting through the door in a set time-limit. This adds plenty of replay value to the base gameplay.

Mid-dle of the road

Overall, however, Pyramids feels very awkward.

The controls aren't fantastically responsive, and we found ourselves dying numerous times when we could have sworn we hit the right button in time.

And every time you die the game takes 12 seconds to restart the level. This can feel like a lifetime on the more difficult levels - the game really needs to have a quick-restart function.


More niggles push through to the surface as well.

The aforementioned collectable stars aren't just for replayability - in fact, you're forced to grab them to progress, which feels more restrictive than challenging.

Visually, there's barely any variety in the various backdrops over the six levels, with pictures of the outside of pyramids and the inside of pyramids available for you to view.

The stereoscopic 3D isn't really used to great effect, either. The only time it's really noticeable is when you die, and your character flies either forwards and backwards off the screen.

If you're looking for a decent puzzler to play for the 3DS could do a lot worse than Pyramids - especially if you can grit your teeth until reaching the more interesting latter levels. But we had hoped for so much more from the first real original release for the eShop.