Puzzle Showdown 4K Title Screen e1505814451668

Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 19, 2017

Puzzle Showdown 4K is a jigsaw puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. John Spilsbury invented the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767 when he created dissected maps by pasting maps onto wood and cutting grooves into them which was helpful in Geographical education for children before becoming a major pastime for people of all ages with a rapidly growing quantity of themed jigsaws. Paul Gallant furthered the popularity of jigsaw puzzles in the 1990s by inventing Puzz 3D which is essentially 3D themed jigsaws including the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, Big Ben and classic cars. Can 70 Times 7 create the best modern jigsaw puzzle game with their debut game Puzzle Showdown 4K?

If you want a chance to get your hands on a PS4 or PC key for Puzzle Showdown 4k, you can enter our Sweepstake here

Over 100 puzzles are spread across numerous categories including abstract, animals, architecture, art, city, dawn and dusk, miscellaneous, mountains, nature, night, people, skies, space, wacky and water. There are some rather humorous puzzles such as Gamer Sayings within the wacky category which contains various phrases such as “If at first you don’t succeed throw your controller”, while there are breathtaking images of the night sky looking up at the stars and looking at Earth from the stars, beautiful animals such as horses and peacocks and much more besides. Every puzzle image is sensationally designed to strike an appropriate balance between relaxing the player, while providing a genuine test of their jigsaw puzzle solving credentials.

Points are naturally scored by placing a jigsaw piece onto the puzzle, although there are a variety of intricacies that are important for players who plan on earning a much higher score. Bonus points are awarded in a variety of instances such as Speed Streak for correctly placing multiple puzzle pieces in quick succession; Accuracy Streak for positioning multiple pieces consecutively without a mistake; Line Bonus for placing 3 or more pieces in a horizontal or vertical line; Isthmus Bonus for placing a piece in a manner that connects pieces together from two areas of the puzzle; and a Hidden Points bonus for placing puzzle pieces within areas that contain a hidden quantity of points.

There are many customisable options including selecting the amount of puzzle pieces from a small and quick jigsaw puzzle of 28 pieces through to 60, 112, 252 or a large and far more thought provoking puzzle of 510 pieces, although 510 piece puzzles are a real test of endurance and concentration as they can take longer than 2 hours to complete which is where a very user friendly mid-puzzle save comes into play that enables players to save their progress and exit at anytime. Further options include the rotation of pieces resulting in not necessarily having a piece immediately displayed the correct way; showing the background image on a permanent basis or only having an outline to provide a sense of where the piece may fit into the puzzle or neither of the assists; turning off visual and controller focused hints in what is essentially an expert mode that would otherwise provide a clear indicator of the correct positioning of each piece and the ability to attempt to achieve a high score or play casually without scoring points.

Showcase mode provides a wonderful screen saver feature for your PS4 in which each image can be shown for between 5 to 60 seconds before cycling through to the next image within a specific category of images or all images, while listening to your preferred category of music.

Until Puzzle Showdown 4K hopefully receives a Vita port; remote play allows players to take their puzzles anywhere or utilise the Vita as an additional controller during local multiplayer. Every element of the control scheme is retained making for a comfortable remote play experience that is precise in replicating the performance of the PS4 version.

The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller as they are simplistic; therefore allowing players to concentrate on solving each piece of the puzzle instead of focusing on complex controls. The control scheme consists of pressing X to select or place a piece; pressing O to discard a piece or tapping O to return to tray; holding square to show the complete image of the puzzle; pressing R1 or L1 to rotate a piece 90 degrees to the right or left respectively; and changing the direction of the left analogue stick or pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to move your selected piece; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Vibration occurs when a player has correctly aligned their currently selected puzzle piece with its intended position when hints are turned on, while the light bar produces a combination of a light red and orange colour which is in keeping with the relaxed tone of the game, although there is no touch pad implementation which could have provided an optional alternative to the left analogue stick when moving a currently selected piece.

Graphically, there would be a natural assumption that a jigsaw puzzle game would be aesthetically simplistic, but this is most certainly not the case as there are picturesque vistas galore that already look beautiful on PS4, while PS4 Pro support produces stunning native 4K visuals which can be fully admired in showcase mode.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, single player menus, local multiplayer menus, showcase menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Menu backgrounds include dozens of varyingly coloured jigsaw pieces falling from the top to the bottom of the screen, while a bright orange title logo is positioned across the top centre of the main menu.

Sound effects include selecting and discarding a puzzle piece, viewing the puzzle’s background image, successfully and unsuccessfully placing a puzzle piece within the puzzle, earning bonus points and completing the entire puzzle which are complimented by over 5 hours of music from a variety of genres including acoustic, classical and electronic. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which could have produced sound effects such as correctly positioning a puzzle piece or earning bonus points.

The trophy list includes 17 trophies with 2 bronze trophies, 5 silver trophies, 9 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Do A Jig bronze trophy for completing a puzzle; the Relaxation Station bronze trophy for completing a puzzle with scoring disabled; and the Triple Jig silver trophy for completing three puzzles. Harder trophies include the Puzzle Connoisseur gold trophy for completing a 510 piece puzzle and the Puzzle Master gold trophy for completing a 510 piece puzzle in less than 2 hours. Local multiplayer trophies include the Showdown Winner and Showdown Champion gold trophies for achieving 1 and 10 competitive wins respectively; the Another’s Treasure gold trophy for placing two pieces into the puzzle that were discarded by an opponent; and the Showdown Underdog gold trophy for making a comeback from a 1,000 points deficit and winning the puzzle. It is estimated that depending upon skill, a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips and a friend or so to compete against in split-screen multiplayer that it would take around 10 hours to platinum the trophy list.

The customisable amount of puzzle pieces and various settings are forms of difficulty levels that provide as many or as few assists and hints as you would prefer. Ultimately, the difficulty conforms to your hand-to-eye co-ordination experience of completing jigsaw puzzles in physical or digital form, especially when considering the pinpoint precision of matching a small piece to a large puzzle of 510 jigsaw pieces.

Local multiplayer supports 2 to 4 players on a single screen including competitive gameplay in which every participating player attempts to earn the highest score for that particular puzzle with a clear breakdown of the current score and amount of pieces placed within the puzzle for each player. When an opponent discards of a piece; it is added to another player’s set of available pieces; each player will know what piece is theirs due to a colour highlighting the outer edge of the piece that corresponds to the player’s designated colour, while co-operative gameplay sees all players working together to complete the puzzle.

There is no online functionality which is certainly forgivable given an indie developer’s budget for a debut game, although it would have been nice to see the inclusion of local and online leaderboards which could have focused on the fastest times in which each jigsaw puzzle were completed by every player in single player or co-operatively throughout each puzzle size and group of options such as hints, puzzle piece rotation and background image.

Replayability stems from every gameplay element including therapeutically completing over 100 puzzles, a huge amount of customisation options, showcase mode acting as a wonderful screen saver, and local multiplayer for 2 to 4 players in competitive or co-operative gameplay which will collectively have players returning long after completing each of the jigsaws.

If you want a chance to get your hands on a PS4 or PC key for Puzzle Showdown 4k, you can enter our Sweepstake here

• Title: Puzzle Showdown 4K
• Developer: 70 Times 7
• Publisher: Kingdom Games
• System: PS4
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1-4 (Local Multiplayer)
• Hard Drive Space Required: 1.75GB (Version 1.03)

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