If you aren't one the 144 million people that currently have a Neopets account, well then you have some explaining to do my friend!
Neopets is an online website launched in 1999 where you can create and raise up to 4 of your very own virtual creatures. There are 54 different species of Neopets, but you get to choose the name, gender, color, and personality of your creature. You buy them food and toys, using a virtual currency called Neopoints which can be earned through playing games, taking them on quests, and interacting with other Neopets in the world of Neopia.
It has been described as a cross between Pokémon and Tamagotchi.
Sounds all candy-coated and cutesy don’t it, and it is but it’s also big business. On June 20, 2005, Viacom bought Neopets, Inc. for $160 million! As of August 2007, Neopets reports 144 million accounts and 212 million pets. Yowza!
After 7 years the site is still going strong with everything from trading cards to plush toys, an official magazine and more recently videogames.
There are over 100 active games on the Neopets website from puzzle games to action games but now thanks to Mumbo Jumbo Studios we get to play a Zuma/Luxor-like game involving the Neopets called “Neopets: Codestone Quest.”
I must admit that even though I have heard of Neopets I wasn’t all that familiar with it and never gave it much thought. So in order for me to review this game, I went and checked out the Neopets website and I gotta tell you I was amazed to find that thousands of people are really, really into this franchise.
We’re all familiar with the games Zuma and Luxor and how they are played right? What? You aren’t?!
First Neopets, now this! …you know you are really starting to worry me.
Okay, real quick, there are these different colored balls (in this case, fairy bottles) snaking around the screen on a chain-type thing and you must shoot like colored balls from your chamber (in this case, a Faerie launcher) to match 3 or more (will it ever get old?) If they reach the end of their path (in this case, Balthazar's cart), well its game over. Oddly enough is harder to explain than it is to figure out. Trust me you'll get a feel for the game quickly and get the hang of it in no time. Get it? Alrighty then, moving on.
Here is the story …it's a puzzle game! Did you really expect something to go here? Instead, why don't we just talk? So how are you? Good? What new fall television shows are you watching? Yep, Heroes is great. Alright, enough jibber-jabber I guess let's get to the good stuff now and why you clicked in here in the first place.
The story “Codestone Quest’ takes place in Neopia as well, and something sinister is happening.
The world of Neopets has always had its share of villains, and in this game the story revolves around the evil Balthazar, a Lupe (a wolf-like creature) who is known for hunting and capturing faeries, keeping them in jars and selling them all over Neopia.
Balthazar makes a pact with a mystery figure and sets out to capture as many faeries as possible. He uses a charm to trap the faeries in bottles, and then he and his minions push the bottles towards his cart. It's up to you, to free the captured fairies by shooting out other faeries into the chain to match 3or more and set them free, as well as collecting all the magical Codestones in order to save the day. Yes folks, you are now entering ball-bursting territory. Beware this could get messy!
Making matches causes special coins called Dubloons to fall, and if you're fast enough you can scoop them up. In between levels you can use the Dubloons to purchase petpets that serve as the game's power-ups. (In Neopet land, Neopets can own pets called petpets - and petpets can own their own pets too that are called, you guessed it, petpetpets! See you are catching on real quick.)
Petpets are stored in your inventory to help you (temporarily) when needed. Each has special abilities for example, Snowsickle freezes all bottles on screen, Baby Fireball destroys a certain number of bottles, Blurtle slows down the movement of the bottles and Turmac pushes the bottles backwards.
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Along with the petpet power-ups, “Codestone Quest” has a unique magic system that has five spells that can be unleashed by making matches in a certain color order. The Color Blast spell will destroy all bottles of one color is triggered by making two yellow matches in a row, while Fireball is purple-green-purple.
Magic is an interesting element, but I found it a little hard to remember most of the combos that unlocked the different spells. Besides the Color Blast, which I got fairly often (mostly due to chance and luck) in my case, magic tended to be unused, I preferred to buy more petpet power-ups instead.
The overall look and feel of the game is reminiscent of the graphics you find on the official site. I happen to like the colorful and playful looking artwork with all the faeries, the pets, the petpets and the petpetpets and I am happy to report that they are nicely carried over to “Codestone Quest”.
Much like the other ball-poppers we all know and love, where the rule of three reigns supreme, the gameplay isn’t all that original, I will cut it some slack partly because I love Zuma and I haven’t played anything like it in awhile, so I didn't mind at all trying out this Neopets-themed clone.
It's a fantastic game; I really enjoyed it. It's the sort of game that you can pick up and play quickly and easily.
Sure, it's a copycat/clone/blatant rip-off, but when you lose yourself and all track of time, and escape fully, that's really all that matters, isn’t it?Get "Neopets: Codestone Quest" Here