The critically acclaimed game Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare from Replay Games, Inc is a puzzle-lover’s virtual playground available for iOS devices. Quite frankly, unless you’re an experienced gamer or an avid puzzle gamer, this game will force your mind to twist and turn in ways it has never done before. If you seldom play puzzle games, it will drive you to insanity, despair, and tears.
The game centers around the young and socially-oppressed Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix, who is teased by all the other children in town. To escape the menacing children, Vanessa keeps to herself by solving puzzles. One day, while avoiding the children, she starts playing in her father’s antique shop and comes across a mysterious box with a puzzle that she cannot solve. Suddenly and accidentally, the box escapes her hands and smashes on the ground, breaking into pieces. This creates a vortex that sucks up all the townspeople into the puzzle, leaving Vanessa alone, and the goal of the game is for Vanessa to escape this puzzle nightmare. She can do so by solving the puzzles to save her family and the townspeople.
This single-player game has thirty-six individual levels that become progressively more difficult as Vanessa completes each level. Stars are awarded to the player after each level, from a minimum of one star to a maximum of three. To receive the most amount of stars you must solve the puzzle quickly and with as few turns as possible. Replay Games have graciously included suggested completion times and how many times the board should be turned for each level. Thankfully, if a player takes longer than the suggested completion time or is using too many level rotations, you can collect coins for extra time or rotations. This game does include a leader-board for those ambitious enough to solve all thirty-six levels quickly and efficiently.
The game’s structure remains the same throughout all thirty-six levels, but not all levels are the same. Luckily, there are a few changes of scenery that help to break up the gameplay. In some levels players are met with additional challenges such as spike strips of death or avoiding scary spiders. In fact, there are even random townspeople who Vanessa needs to carry to safety to progress to the next level. Some levels require Vanessa to find a key to open the door to the next level. All these little nuances to the game help expand gameplay and keep players interested.
Controlling the puzzle is comparable to controlling a virtual Rubik’s Cube. Learning how to rotate the cube is one of the most important gameplay elements to learn. There are two buttons on the left and right sides of the screen that allow the player to switch how the level is laid out on the screen. The faster the keys are tapped, the faster the cube rotates, allowing for precise puzzle control. Additionally, on the lower left side of the screen are the left and right movement keys. These keys control what directions Vanessa walks in. Finally, the jump and open door keys are laid out vertically on the right side of the screen. Mastery of all these techniques will help you complete the levels quickly and accurately.
Replay Games has really set the bar high for all future puzzle games, as there are so many positives to this game. Controlling Vanessa is simple to learn and execute, and challenging and varying gameplay constantly keep the player on their toes. Add a great soundtrack by underground artist Telethon and you have a complete game.
While the game is great, it is difficult to overlook some of the negative aspects. The puzzles are really hard – a gamer can see their professional and personal life decline. In fact, we have actually uttered the phrase, “Sorry babe, I can’t cuddle right now, I have to figure this puzzle out”. Do not succumb to the darkness of this game.
Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare from Replay Games, Inc is a great puzzle game. Replay Games is now officially on our must-watch developer list, and they should be on yours as well. With a great story and fantastic gameplay, we give Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare 8 out of 10 townspeople saved.
This review is based on a review copy of the iOS version of Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix and Her Nightmare by Replay Games, Inc