Status: On Level 33 of 50
Poor Nanda! The island our shaman panda friend lives on has dried up and he is all alone. Nanda possesses the power to call forth the rain, but his clouds never seem to be able to get the rain to fall where he needs it most. With our help and some special seeds, we can help Nanda turn his island home back into a tropical paradise wildlife will flock to. All you need to do is put your puzzle cap on, make sure your DS is fully charged and channel your video game prowess in this latest release from MumboJumbo.I am by far not the most hardcore puzzle gamer, nor do I even come close to many who believe themselves to be masters of the genre. When I pop a puzzle game into any of my systems it’s because I crave something seemingly simplistic yet secretly challenging. I find that playing fast paced action and adventure titles with heavier dialogue is great, but every once in a while you need to give your brain something to stretch the old grey matter.
Nanda’s Island definitely makes you think, and often quite a bit faster than most other puzzlers. Your goal for each level is to help the rainwater flow to the flower seed located on the map and to get it as much water as possible. Each cloud will produce a set amount of water and comes with a lovely countdown timer to let you know how long you have before it begins to flow. You are also given an icon that tells you how much water you will need in order for your flower to bloom. When the cloud (or clouds, because there will be more than one as you progress) doesn’t hold enough for the flower to bloom, Nanda introduces special seeds to aid in water production and water relocation. You’ll need to make sure you water those special seeds in order to have proper nourishment for your plant life.
And like most other puzzle games, there are plenty of times when you don’t need to water every special seed Nanda plants for you. One of the early levels had me stuck for a day because I kept trying to water everything. I’m sure there is a way to pull it off and I may go back to replay the level for a higher score, but when you remember that you just need enough for the flower it will get you moving along much quicker.
There were times when a couple drops of rain got stuck in crevices and the level would not end for me. When this happened I simply used the in-game pencil and drew all over the droplets (after searching for them for a minute or so) so that they would stop moving and eventually evaporate. Other times they would get caught on a line I drew and I would have to erase the line so those raindrops could fall or dry up on a heat stone. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. You learn from these instances and when you attempt the level again you know where you need to draw a small line to block off an area or try to better cover the stones.
When your score for the level is tallied up you’ll earn Nanda coins based on how bloomed your flower was. These coins can be redeemed at the shop located on a small boat off the second part of the island. I had to reference the game manual to figure out what that boat was for since I hadn’t come across anything in the tutorial, but that’s what game manuals are for! You can trade these in towards seagulls, elephants and whales which will populate areas of the map and add to the island’s charm. They have no effect on any particular levels as far as I can see. You can’t have a beautiful tropical island without wildlife. Well, you can, but that would just be wrong.
There are two game modes with little difference: Puzzle and Arcade. Puzzle is your standard “story” mode where you have unlimited attempts to complete each new challenge. Arcade mode is the exact same thing, just limited to three lives. Pushing yourself to see how much you can do with only three lives is rather exhilarating! My top score in Arcade mode is currently 6005. Pales in comparison to the 93320 score I’m rocking in Puzzle mode.
Rebuilding Nanda’s Island will require some trial and error, a quick hand and good planning. The closer you get to having the island once more in full bloom, the tougher the mazes and more frequent the obstacles. At Level 31, I had flying erasers show up threatening my well laid plans. Nanda’s Island is sure keeping me on my toes!
Another great addition to the MumboJumbo Games library, Nanda’s Island has been time well spent. I can sit down and play a level or two at a time or play until my battery dies (which has happened twice) and not feel mentally exhausted like I do when I put down the controller with other games. If anything, my brain feels rejuvenated and raring to tackle some studying. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to tidying up these last dozen or so levels.
Purchase Nanda’s Island from Amazon