While RPGs and action games have a dominant share in today's gaming market, puzzle titles have remained a pretty consistent genre. It's something you wake up to, training your brain in minutes a day with Dr. Kawashima. Perhaps it's in the form of a game you top off the night with, firing up Peggle in your platform of choice or using your Nintendo handheld to play Professor Layton.
It has even mixed in flawlessly with other genres, producing unique and memorable titles. There's the Puzzle Quest series which is categorized as a Puzzle RPG and the Loco Roco games which combine elements of platforming with stage tilting puzzle elements. From adventure games to fighting games, there have been plenty of puzzle hybrids that have won the hearts and wallets of fans the world over.
That being said, what can a forgetful elephant do to floss your brain? As proven by the zany online puzzle platformer This Is The Only Level, he can do a whole lot. Why the title, you ask? Well the elephant can only remember one level so the title is technically correct. However, you'll have to go through the same layout over and over again using your gaming know-how and epic platforming skills to get through the challenges. Don't be fooled by appearances though, this game will have you thinking outside the box, trying every possible key combination and even perhaps mentally willing the virtual elephant to just get to the exit pipe.
The controls start out pretty straightforward and should be quite familiar to anyone who has previously played platformers. The left and right arrow keys control the elephant's walking direction while pressing the up arrow key will make him jump. Your goal is to help the elephant get from one end of the stage to another in order to exit through the pipe located at the lower right corner of the screen.
To live up to its puzzle platformer roots, This Is The Only Level features deadly spikes as well as a pesky gate blocking your way to the exit. For the most part, you will need to open it by directing the elephant to press on the huge red button located in one of the elevated platforms on the screen.
That basically sums up the first challenge. Things get more interesting once you get to Level 1 Stage 2. Armed with the hint "Not always straight forward", you will need to adjust to the new control scheme in order to get the elephant to the exit safely. The rules change for every stage. You will need to put your thinking cap on and stretch those gaming fingers because it's going to be tricky getting past Level 1.
Now, Mr. Elephant has unlimited respawns though his deaths will proudly be emblazoned on the lower part of the screen. If you deem it best to add a notch to his death count, or if you just want to retry the level, you can press the Panic button to force a respawn.
The graphics and BGM work hand in hand to give the title a whimsical feel. It helps that the lines of text are witty and that the game isn't too cool to make jokes about the elephant's situation. We absolutely loved how the hints were phrased. It gives just enough of an indication to help you figure out what to do without spoiling too much about the new rules applied to that stage.
As far as online puzzle platformers go, This Is The Only Level is the cream of the crop. Because the rules change for every stage, things never get stagnant. This effectively eliminates the reliance on a workable set of tricks genre veterans fall back on. The delivery is stellar, with every element complementing the silly, yet seriously addicting game play. If you even remotely like puzzle games, play This Is The Only Level. Trust us you'll wonder where time went.