Pandora's Box combines elements of 3D puzzles with paintings, pictures and artwork ranging from city landscapes to renaissance masterpieces.
The story mode lets you search after seven "tricksters" who have escaped from Pandora's Box. These mischief makers include Anansi, Puck and Eris. Each one of these evil creatures has their own story and background as well, which is told through cutscenes and text. On your search for the tricksters, you will go to different cities around the world. Each location's puzzles are represented with landmarks and cityscapes in them. You might have to do a jigsaw puzzle of the Statue of Liberty in New York or make a pharaoh sculpture in Egypt. Although, if you don't want to dive right into the action, a tutorial mode is available to immerse yourself before the real challenge. Freeplay and competitive modes are also available.
All of the puzzles are represented in a slick 3D interface that makes the landmarks and pictures seem more real. Some puzzles will make you complete a design on a vase, which requires you to rotate the vase to complete the design. Other puzzles, like Rotascope, make you shift pieces around in a circular fashion, somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle. Each city has ten puzzles, one of each type. The control is fairly simple as well, since the mouse is the chief means of puzzle operation. The menu interface also shares the same slick look as the puzzles so you won't have trouble navigating this easy to use game.
There is also some background music that ranges from classical to blues, depending on the city that you are in. It gives a nice extra little touch to the atmosphere while you try and solve each puzzle. The game also has some good presentation features like CGI cutscenes and some voice-over narration. These little intricacies add to the gameplaying experience just a little bit more.
I found myself getting into this game quite a bit. It has many little nuances that make it fun. Whether it's the interesting storyline or slick interface you just seem to be able to play the game easily. Another good aspect that distinguishes this game from many others is the fact that it has many different types of puzzles for you to solve, not just one. In games like Tetrisphere for the Nintendo 64, you only have one or two types of puzzles to play. Likewise with games like Columns for the Sega Genesis. It is fun to play these games, but their puzzles get a little tedious after a while. With this game, there are many different ways to play. You will find yourself getting stronger in some puzzle types, but lacking in others. This game mechanic will make you want to play more, furthering the game's playability.
This is an original title with many aspects that set it apart from other puzzle games. Minor setbacks are things like somewhat drab music and inability to withdraw with a puzzle once you've entered it, but these are little things that can be overlooked greatly, because of this game's strong look and appeal.
Graphics: Some good looking visuals here. The puzzles are crisp and have some very abstract ideas implemented in them. Nice cutscenes as well.
Sound: Some tunes that fit the cities you visit as well as some classical menu music. Average stuff here.
Enjoyment: Lots of fun can be had with this in-depth puzzler. Not having just one type of puzzle makes this one good.
Replay Value: Many puzzles for you to challenge yourself with. Story mode and free play are nice to play throuh a few times.
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