E3 2008: Spiritual Puzzling In Brave: Shamen's Challenge on DS
Move, move, move any mountain
Gamers these days love a good story - in fact, we generally expect one. It's that intangible element that turns a good game into a great game, but it's too often overlooked by developers or suffers in translation. For some reason, we don't tend to expect much of a story bolstering the background of a puzzle game, however, so it's particularly interesting to see SouthPeak make a bold attempt to rectify the issue.
Brave: Shamen's Challenge follows the journey of a young Native American (called Brave, would you believe) as he works with nature to protect the Shamanic way of life. Adopting the Native American philosophies through his quest, Brave meets a host of characters from his ancestral spirits to new friends and enemies.
The puzzle-based game appears to work along the lines of Tetris and Zoo Keeper, though the different modes of play and spell casting nature also suggest strong ties to the fantasy RPG genre. Brave: Shamen's Challenge also makes a move to break from tradition and turn the DS on its side, book style; utilising the longer aspects of the screens to maximise the playing area.
It's not at all difficult to build a mental picture of the deeper puzzle/action experience SouthPeak is promising in Brave: Shamen's Challenge, and if nothing else, it's great to see a developer making an effort to evolve the basic puzzle gameplay that's so rife on the DS.
It's slated for a September release. Hit 'Track It!' to keep up-to-date.