Looks Aren’t Everything
At first glance, Poly Star: Prince Story by Nexelon Inc. looks promising. Its soft, relaxing piano music, dreamy visuals, and emphasis on galaxy exploration fit that storybook feel all too well. Not to mention its narrative is a modernized rendition of the classic story, The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1943. It’s cute and free to play. I had high hopes for this indie, poly puzzle game, but as the saying goes: never judge a book by its cover.
You are a prince, hopping from planet to planet, helping those in need, and restoring each world to its former glory. You do this by completing poly puzzles. Poly puzzles are 3D jigsaw puzzles that posses sharp and crystallized shapes. The poly puzzles vary depending on which planet you’re on. After completing a handful of puzzles, you see more and more items pop up on the once empty world. Each poly puzzle is scored through a three-star rating system. Any score 10 seconds or lower gives you three stars, 11-20 seconds gives you two, and over 21 gives you one star. The faster you complete a puzzle, the higher the rating; the higher the rating, the more points you get.
And, that’s about it. As much as I loved the aesthetically-pleasing visuals and sounds, the overall gameplay is too simplistic. In fact, it was so bland that after about thirty minutes of playtime, I was ready for a nap. The puzzles don’t vary in difficulty at all. I completed over 300 puzzles and finished most within ten seconds. There wasn’t any real challenge, and Poly Star thus left me unimpressed. Visuals and music are vital when it comes to any game, but they weren’t outstanding enough to overshadow the title’s lack of gameplay complexity.
Greed Strikes Again
I was almost willing to look past Poly Star’s dull gameplay because playing the game was so relaxing. It would have been nice to play before bed since it practically put me to sleep. However, like so many others, the developers fell victim to greed. I couldn’t play the game for more than about 30 seconds without hearing, “I can’t believe he cheated!” or “collect them all now!” blaring into my ears. And before you ask, yes, I did count, it was approximately every 30 seconds that I was forced to watch a five-second ad. What’s worse is that these weren’t even all the ads I encountered. Every four to six puzzles, I had to watch a 30-second ad, with no skip button, to get extra points and continue the game. My immersion was ruined. I couldn’t stay focused on the game for more than a couple of minutes without becoming completely irritated.
But wait! There is a version of the game without ads for $7.49. So, basically, the developers try to bait players into paying for the game by annoying them with a variety of obnoxious ads. Although some may argue it’s an excellent way to motivate players to pay the developers for their work, the game itself isn’t worth the money nor the trickery. I could see paying two maybe three dollars for this game, but the gameplay isn’t nearly engaging enough to warrant that kind of price tag.
Thrown Away Potential
Poly Star: Prince Story has little to offer in terms of gameplay, but possibly offers something calming and relaxing for those more casual gamers. Even still, the immersion and player experience is continuously ruined by the developers’ deciding to add in jarring advertisements every moment possible.
Poly Star’s aesthetically-pleasing design couldn’t save its insipid gameplay, and even that was ruined by the developer’s greed.