Nintendo’s handheld consoles have always been home to great puzzle games, such as the Professor Layton and Mario vs Donkey Kong series, so a new entry into the genre can easily be missed by the casual fan, such is the case of The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and his Square Mind, an intriguing puzzler from the minds of the people at Delirium Studios S.L. In this game, you play as the titular Von Sottendorff, a Baron who is attempting to obtain some of the childhood possessions from his parent’s house.
By pressing the L shoulder button, Von Sottendorff has the ability to move the position of rooms within each level, like a slider puzzle. By doing so, you have the ability to choose which room to go into as each offers a different challenge, so long as the doors align to allow you to switch from room-to-room. The whole purpose to this is to obtain the key within each level, which unlocks a door allowing you to progress within the game. However, as the sliding puzzle can only be controlled by using the circle pad, and not the D-Pad or stylus, it can be quite unresponsive when moving room positions or cause a completely different room to move to the one that you want.
Each level also features 5 collectible memories, shown in the form of photographs, as well as puzzle pieces. The former allows you to buy videos, music and artwork from the game so that you can view them at any time, although nothing really stands out and as such makes the extra bit of effort in the levels rather worthless, however collecting the latter unlocks childhood memories of Von Sottendorff which provide a back-story and are usually obtained along the course of the level, and as such it is well worth picking those up.
There isn’t much really to keep bringing you back to Von Sottendorff, with the only thing to do so that I can think of being going back over levels to pick up any collectibles that you missed on the first playthrough so that you can fully experience the game. Instead it relies on the strength of the level designs to keep you playing, which are admittedly very well designed.
As good as the puzzle side of the game is, it fails to keep any substantial pacing throughout it. Each time it reaches a good momentum you are unfortunately interrupted by a needlessly long cutscene explaining something that could easily be explained in a one screen hint as you load up whatever level it is first relevant to. This breaking of the pace unfortunately can cause you to lose immersion in the experience, however if you can work past that there are some seriously mind bending puzzles ready for you to solve.
One of the points that the game tries to sell itself on is its ‘holophonic sound experience’, which is basically just the audio fading in and out of each speaker at points of the game, and is best experienced with headphones. Whilst this is certainly an interesting concept, and there are times at which it is really well produced, the majority of the time it feels like an unnecessary addition that has no bearing on the game, which is a huge shame.
Don’t get me wrong, The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and his Square Mind is a solid puzzle game at its heart and one which I do recommend that people look into picking up if you’re looking for a new puzzle experience. It’ll have you working your mind multiple times throughout the course of the game as you attempt to progress the levels, however for me it is just a little slow to thoroughly grab me.
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