I Heart Geeks Review
Physics puzzle games are pretty familiar to iPhone gamers, but they�re rarer on video game systems such as the DS. These games usually present you with a series of challenges in which you need to construct Rube Goldberg style machines to accomplish a simple task such as putting a ball into a crate. Each level will inform you as to what needs to be completed to succeed and move on the to the next level, and gives you a play area that may have a combination of gears, ramps, balls, and other parts that you'll need to work with in order to accomplish your goal. You�ll also be given a toolbox of objects to use in the play area to complete the contraption that you need to build in order to accomplish your goal. Once you�ve placed all of the parts and you're happy with your contraption, you press the start button and let the physics kicks in. Gravity will cause some objects to begin to fall, balloons will rise, and the various moving parts will begin to interact with each other. If everything works as expected, you�ll accomplish your goal and move on to the next puzzle. If you fail you'll have to make adjustments to your contraption and take another shot at it. The puzzles are timed and your score is based on how quickly you solve the puzzles, so once you've worked out the solution to a puzzle you can return to it and try to improve on your time. Since the fun factor in games like this derives from working out the solution and then seeing it in action, I don't think that that time factor will motivate many people to return to puzzles that have already been solved.
The puzzles vary in difficulty from those that are pretty straightforward to solve to those that will take several trial and error attempts before you work out the solution. If you get stuck you can ask the game for hint and the hints are generally blatant enough to get you passed any mental roadblocks that you encounter. Using a hint will incur a time penalty, but that won't be that big a deal to you unless you're really concerned about your time scores ... and if you are you can always try the puzzle again after you've solved it and go for a better score.
The mechanics of solving the puzzles in I Heart Geeks are a little awkward. The inventory of objects that you need to place in each puzzle appears on the touch screen and the puzzle itself is shown on the top screen. You select the item that you want to place, swap the screens, place the object, swap the screens again, select the next item, and keep popping back and forth this way until you've got everything in place. The game is a little picky about object placement and it seems that it uses an underlying grid that it uses to snap objects in place. This can be a little annoying because you'll just have to accept where the game is willing to put an object rather than always being able to place it exactly where you would like. The game is also limiting in that it gives you a predetermined small collection of objects for each puzzle, which basically tell you exactly which objects are required to solve the puzzle and how many of each one you'll need. Personally, I'd rather have everything available so that I can be creative in finding a solution rather than solving each puzzle in the exact manner that the developers have predetermined.
I Heart Geeks is not one of those puzzle games that you can recommend to everyone, or even to everyone who enjoys puzzle games, because it doesn't give you much room for creativity by limiting the available objects for each puzzle. It can also be annoying at times, primarily because even after you�ve figured out the solution to a puzzle you�ll often still spend a lot of time with it trying to place each object in precisely the right position for the puzzle to play out correctly. Sometimes I simply had to put the game down because I got tired of shuffling parts around and into precise position and wasn�t given the option to skip the puzzle and move on to the next one. I like physic puzzle games, but there are plenty of these games available online and on phones that are more fun to play. If you only game on your DS your options for this type of puzzle game are more limited, though. In that case, I Heart Geeks will do an adequate job of giving you some physics puzzle action, but it won't be a particularly satisfying experience overall.
Final Rating: 60%. If the game really loved geeks, it would give them a more interesting puzzle game.