Product Info

  • Product: Onimusha Puzzle: Dark Castle
  • Developer: In-house
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Format: Mobile
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Players: 1
  • Format: J2ME
  • File size: 211KB
  • Reviewed on: K800i other handsets
  • Version: Europe

Game Info

Porting games from consoles to mobile phones is nothing new. But although mobile phones have come on leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of capabilities, we're still a little short of the dedicated games console experience on our handsets.

As a result, too often games with a console heritage feel clumsy on mobile, and even alienate their own fans. Happily, developers have realised this. When bringing big-name licences to the small(est) screen, they more often now come up with titles that work with a keypad that's designed for dialling, and not Donkey Kong.

Onimusha Puzzle: Dark Castle is one such game, and though it borrows a little back-story from the popular PlayStation 2 series, the gameplay is aimed squarely at casual gaming on a mobile handset. The levels are short enough for you to fit a couple of rounds in whilst waiting for the bus or standing in a long queue, while the gameplay is so simple even your Gran would get it within a couple of goes.

The basic premise of Dark Castle sees your character plonked into a room full of nasty spikes that move from one side of the screen to the other. Your task is to pick up one or more keys and make your way, un-skewered, to the exit. The story, as far as it exists, involves a samurai – you – having to make your way through a series of these rooms in order to retrieve a magical gauntlet that's been stolen by an evil warlord.

Advertisement You might think that sounds a lot like a thousand other games that you've played before, and you'd be right – except that this is a mobile game and you really don't want to have to ask the bus driver to wait whilst you dance between the barbs before paying for your ticket home.

The clever thing then is that the spikes in the levels only move when you do. Each time you take a step in any direction, the prickly hazards also move one square along their pre-determined path.

This means the focus in Dark Castle is centred squarely on logic and not action. For each level, there will be a safe path that will see you head from the start, pick up the keys, and make it to the exit door in one piece. (If you get through using the minimum number of required steps you often open up a bonus level, but these are for bragging rights only and have no effect on the subsequent game.)

In the early levels you'll find the exit and these extra stages pretty easy to get to, even without dedicating much of your grey matter to the task. But once you get to the levels in the fourth or fifth areas of the map, the chance of taking a wrong turn and living to tell the tale are slim.

You'll have to think far ahead to work out where the spikes will be when you intend to cross their path. This means that unless you're a Mensa grand master or are schooled in the ways of chess, you'll be attempting levels many times over.

As you progress between the levels, this gameplay doesn't change significantly: it just gets more demanding. The relatively steep difficulty curve and the similarity between each stage means that it will not be too long before you're looking for a new distraction when you get stuck.

Still, you'll often find yourself coming back for one more go. The appeal won't last forever, but for as long as Onimusha Puzzle: Dark Castle does hold your interest, you'll find a straightforward yet fairly addictive puzzle game that can be played anywhere for as short or as long as you like. And that's progress, of sorts

Available for following models

Manufacturer Models

Sony Ericsson K500i, W200i, K300i, J230i, J300i, K600i, W710i, Z610i, Z710i, K610i, W610i, W850i, K800i, M600i, W950i, K750i, W700i, V800i, S700i, T630, T610, W810i, W550i, Z550i, W800i, W880i, Z1010, Z520i

LG Mobile F2400

Motorola KRZR K1, SLVR L7, Pebl, V220, V360, Razr V3, V3x, Z3, V3r, V3i, V547, V975

Nokia 6100, 5100, 3200, 7210, 3100, 6220, 2650, 6610, 7250, 6800, 7200, 7250i, 6610i, 3300, 3120, 5200, 6170, 7270, 6070, 5070, 7360, 6101, 6080, 5300, 7373, 6300, 6280, 7370, E65, N73, E50, N71, 6131, 6270, 6233, 8800, 6230i, 5500, 6230, 7600, 6650, 6680, N95

Samsung Z107, D900, E900, D600, D830, E840, D800, D840, Z510, P400, P510, E370, E350, E720, E530, Z500

Sagem My C5-2v