Geeks strike back!
Posted 1 year ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
While many of us were (and some still are) belittled for our geekdom during our youth, as adults, geeks are the new cool. So when I Heart Geeks, the first game to come from SevenOne Intermedia, hit my desk, my initial thought was some kind of Japanese dating-sim import. After sliding it into my DS, I quickly found that I was a bit off. Ok, I was WAY off. I Heart Geeks is almost the polar opposite, where geekdom is celebrated in the most obvious way we know how: stereotyped revenge...
I Heart Geeks is a physics-based science puzzler with, as the title implies, a geek theme. Four high school geeks - Gilbert, Theodore, Milton, and Eugene - have had enough of the bullying from the school jocks, so they decide on some sweet, sweet revenge. If you’ve played The Incredible Machine, or even the recent Create from EA, then you have a solid idea of what to expect here. Each geek specializes in a different scientific aspect. For example, Milton is the master of the mechanical, while Theodore is the go-to guy for liquids. Electricity and optics fill out the the rest of the themes, but they all build upon each other, so even though you’ve “completed” one, elements of it will be present in future puzzles. Things begin with the mechanical puzzles, yet even as you progress into the liquid puzzles, the mechanical components will still come into play, and so on.
"Some are so easy you won’t even bat an eye, while others will leave you with a mind-numbing headache."
This is also how the complexity is increased throughout the 100+ provided puzzles. As each component is stacked upon the next, the brain-bending objectives will start to make your head hurt. Fortunately, there’s no time limit, per sey, so you can sit and look over the puzzle as long as you like (I should note that you are given a time limit during the few “bosses” that you’ll face). The challenge is to complete each one as quickly as possible, and the timer only counts when the set-piece is in motion. The physics aspect functions just as it should, with multiple solutions to most of the puzzles. Often times, the game will throw at you more components than you actually need to complete the objective. Now, should you be really stumped, the featured geek will offer his help, letting you know where a selected component needs to be placed. There is a bit of risk involved though, since there is a time penalty if you use it.
The challenge is there, and will put even the biggest brainiac to the test. But there are a few things that are a little off. First, the replay value comes down to how much of a leaderboard junkie you are. There’s no other incentive to go back to any of these puzzles beyond that. And once you have figured out the solution, it feels almost like cheating when you go back to cut down your time. There is a multiplayer mode that pits two players against each other, beat-the-clock style, though it does require each player to have their own copy of the game. The second issue is how the pieces are played. Only five parts can be selected at a time, so the player has to go into the puzzle and place what they have and then go back and grab the rest of the parts they need. And placing these parts must be done in order of how they are selected, which typically isn’t a big deal, except once you grab something like a chain or a rope. Since those kinds of items need at least two connection points, and if you haven’t placed those points on the board already, you essentially have to trash the part and then go back and reselect it. It isn’t a game breaker, mind you, but it is awkward and cumbersome at times.
As this is a puzzler, I normally wouldn’t have much to say here, but the visuals sort of leave me scratching my head. Not because they are necessarily bad, but because such a big deal was made out of them. The marketing for the game was sure to push the fact that this comes sporting a “hip-hop art style from acclaimed urban icon Mark Ecko”. This may be true, but to be frank, I didn’t see anything here that set it apart from any other cartoony-look found with its competitors. Again, the graphics aren’t terrible, even if they are obtusely stereotypical in how they spotlight geeks and jocks. It sounds potentially offensive, but the lighthearted nature circumvents the mockery. It isn’t even all that relevent, as the majority of the game is played on sparse backgrounds with just the puzzle components. The only real artwork comes in the form of the characters themselves and the minor “cutscenes” leading into, and including, the boss battles against the jocks. The Mark Ecko push moot, and possibly more of a hinderance than a selling point.
The replay value may be minimal, the theme may be seveerly stereotyped, and the Mark Eko tie-in may be completely unecessary, but the core physics puzzling is rock solid. Some are so easy you won’t even bat an eye, while others will leave you with a mind-numbing headache. It would be nice if players could create their own puzzles, but the ones found here give players plenty to think about. I wouldn’t recommend this for the younger gamers, even if the presentation seems to point to them as the primary audience, as some of these brain-benders get downright hard. But if you are looking for something a little more cranially intensive, and can overlook the awkward tool placement issues, then I Heart Geeks will make a decent addition to your DS library.
+ Diverse difficulty
+ Cute visuals
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Release Date : 2011/12/20
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : CDV
Developer : SevenOne Intermedia
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E
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