Neves / Nintendo DS : 4 of 5
It's time for the first review from this year's Christmas presents! Although I've already been enjoying books and DVDs, I've been playing my Nintendo DS like crazy thanks to this fun puzzle game. Neves (don't ask me how to pronounce it, but it's the word "seven" backwards!) is an excellent rendition of the classic tangram game, where you try to organize seven shapes into a predefined pattern. Each shape can be rotated and flipped, so there are countless ways to put the pieces together. I've been learning some strategy pretty quickly, such as figuring out where the largest pieces go (since they have fewer possible positions), but sometimes I will look at a puzzle and it seems completely impossible! If I get stuck, I just move on to another one, and often when I come back to it I'll solve it right away. Each of the puzzles looks vaguely like some object, so they are organized into categories like numbers, alphabet (including some Japanese characters), animals, people and so on. You can play in different modes with restrictions on time and number of moves, but I'm just working my way through the regular mode for now. I've completed hundreds of puzzles, and it says I'm 57% finished with the game, which just drives my obsession to get to 100%! My only complaint with Neves is the background music, which gets so old after awhile - thank goodness you can turn it off which you solve a puzzle, but you still have to hear it while you select your next challenge. It's really fun to be obsessed with a puzzle game, and it feels good to be improving as I play it!