Developer: Delirium Studios
Publisher: Delirium Studios
Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: December 17, 2015
ESRB: E for Everyone
When it comes to puzzle games, I might be just a tad picky. You see, if I“m going to play a puzzle game, I want it to be, well, puzzling. And not just by being a simple collection of generic puzzles or a Tetris clone.
I want something that has tricky puzzles, but features an original and creative idea that makes it feel unique. Perhaps with great music, beautiful art design, and an interesting story. Something like, say, The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind for the Nintendo 3DS.
So I totally did not read about The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind“s plot until after completing the game. But going in blind like I did actually helped the story seem crazier and more intriguing than it would have been had I read the synopsis provided by the developers, which basically spoils a lot. In that regard, I will refrain from telling you the spoilerish bits and recommend that if you end up playing the game, avoid reading up on it beforehand and instead just play it. If you want to go read up on it, though, I can“t stop you.
With all that said, the story of Von Sottendorff is pretty good regardless of how much you know going into it. It“s not anything all that deep and complex, aside from the deep complexity involving the protagonist“s â€œsquare mindâ€ and the memories within, but it“s an interesting story that adds more emotion than you would expect from a fairly silly little puzzle game. And the disembodied voice that guides the silent Baron Von Sottendorff throughout the game certainly adds some pretty entertaining banter to the mix.
Speaking of that disembodied voice, the voice itself is actually presented pretty well. As soon as you boot up The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind, you are met with a message recommending that you wear headphones for a â€œfull holophonic sound experience.â€ That message refers in part to the effect that makes the guiding voice sound as if he is talking to you while moving around a room. That panning effect is also used a bit, to a lesser extent, with sounds and certain parts of the music. There were even times when I thought I heard a noise coming from my room, but it turned out to be the game.
Of course, the most impressive aspect of this game when it comes to audio is its music. The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind has one stellar soundtrack. Not only does each song fit perfectly with each â€œworld“sâ€ theme, but the songs are just plain good. Like, this is the kind of music that I wouldn“t mind just listening to. In fact, I“m listening to the soundtrack as I write this very review. I applaud Von Sottendorff“s composer for making songs that fit the gameplay experience as well as songs that are great by themselves. Bravo!
Von Sottendorff also does well from a graphical standpoint. The game itself presents itself with a bit of silliness, so its unique, cartoony art style fits like a glove. And even when the game takes a few dark turns with the story, the art style still works. You can see the beauty quite easily by looking at Von Sottendorff“s artwork, such as the artwork featured in the game“s cinematics, but the art direction also helps in giving the world as a whole a nice bit of character. Which I suppose is a logical choice considering the room-shifting gameplay mechanics.
I stated at the beginning that I want my puzzle games to have tricky puzzles, but also feature an original and creative idea that makes them feel unique. The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind certainly meets those prerequisites. Although they“re not the most mind-blowing puzzles, they do take some logical thinking to get through. The central focus of the game is the whole room-shifting mechanic, in which you move the rooms around in each level in order to get the puzzle piece and key necessary to move on to the next level. And the levels do get tougher, so don“t go thinking the game“s a cakewalk just because you passed the first â€œworld.â€
But the natural difficulty progression isn“t the only thing that makes the game tough. There are a few unfortunate downsides to Von Sottendorff. For the most part, the game“s platforming is just fine. But occasionally, you will find yourself fighting with the camera in order to land jumps. It doesn“t happen too often, and you do get plenty of lives to collect, but it can still be annoying. The enemies in the game can also be pretty annoying. I really think the developer could have handled them better, as there are times where you feel cheated because the enemies can“t be avoided, and most certainly not killed. Only sometimes, though, thankfully.
If you“re into puzzle games, The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind is a worthy addition to your collection. If you haven“t gotten into them, for $12.99, it“s not a bad place to start. The story is interesting enough to get invested into, the soundtrack is amazing, the art style is beautiful, and most importantly, the creative puzzles are actually fun to solve. It“s a great game that“ll take enough time to beat to merit the price you“re paying for it, so I recommend it.
+ Interesting story, especially if you go into it blind
+ Stellar soundtrack
+ Beautiful art direction
+ Creative room-shifting puzzles
- Enemies could have been incorporated better
- Camera occasionally makes platforming a drag
Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10)
Whether you“re a fan of puzzle games or you need a place to start, The Delusions of Von Sottendorff and His Square Mind is a great one well worth your money.
Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS code provided by the publisher.