A very well balanced puzzler...
Review written by
March 26th, 2013
Art of Balance TOUCH! is an eShop game developed by Shin'en Multimedia. They have become known for their mastery of Nintendo hardware, creating beautiful games that are hit and miss. Art of Balance is definitely one of their hits, it is a very fun and clever puzzle game. The goal is to stack up a set number of different shapes on a platform, ensuring nothing falls into the water underneath.
The physics aren't too realistic, even a little floaty. However, this makes the game a lot more enjoyable because seeing how your structures behave is interesting in itself. Shin'en does a great job of throwing new gimmicks into the mix as well. Soon you'll be contending with disappearing shapes, pivoted platforms, gravity switching shapes and more. It is very well paced throughout.
Experimentation and and perseverance will win out, there are a couple I still haven't figured out, but you do not need to play through every level. There are multiple ways through the level grids, so you can go back to finish unsolved puzzles later. Something I really like about the game is that while it is a puzzler, its challenges aren't too cerebral and use a combination of creativity, trial and error. This makes the game challenging yet open to all ages, in keeping with Nintendo's design philosophy.
Considering how often the developer likes to push Nintendo's hardware, this is a very subtle approach for them. There is a bit of variety in the IKEAesque backgrounds, but a puzzle game of this nature doesn't really offer much chance to show off I guess. The 3D doesn't add much to the experience, but still looks good, particularly on the zoomed-in camera option that makes the container poke out of the screen.
Special mention must be made of the music. It is a classic example of the sort of cheesy, ambient sounds you only hear in video games or a Pret a Manger. I would never listen to it out of context, however it does complement the game perfectly.
If you are looking for a cool 3DS game, you could do much worse than to download Art of Balance TOUCH!. It is perfectly suited to portable play, the kind of game that you can dip in and out of without losing track of anything. For example, I loved playing it on the bus while listening to podcasts. A thoughtful and fun puzzle game that won't have you pulling your hair out. Let's hope Shin'en can keep making games of this quality.
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