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Super Stacker 2: Twice as "Super" as the First
Super Stacker 2 may not be the most outstanding game in its genre, but it sure does not lack in providing players with a sufficiently enjoyable gameplay experience. It has simple and intuitive controls, visuals that are both pleasing and easy to figure out, and most of all, a gameplay that is both satisfying and non-pressuring to play. Figuring out how to balance things without making them fall may seem like a very simple concept, but SS2 does it so well that you will find yourself thinking about some of the games puzzles long after you have shut down your computer.
Stacking Up, Again
The premise is that you will be given a set of various shapes, which you will need to position about the stage. Your stack will then need to stand on its own for a few seconds without falling in order to clear the level.
As a puzzler, Super Stacker 2 is anything but a square. Instead of just blocks you will be given balls, triangles even long poles that you can scatter around. It doesn't stop there though. Take note that there are an assortment of existing shapes per level. These pieces are immovable, so you must find a way to use them to your advantage in order for your stack to stabilize.
Now if at any point, you are running out of ideas, there is always the quirky quip, given at the start of the stage to give you a hint of what is coming. For instance, "waiter arms" means there are two separate stacks you will need to balance, just like a real waiter would balance trays of food. Due to its clever execution, we really loved these useful, subtle hints.
Learning the Scales
The puzzles are separated by four kinds of difficulties. For those with straightforward, obvious solutions, you have the Easy type. The next is the Medium Stacks, Tricky Stacks and then the Hard Stacks. They will all be locked when you first start up the game. As you progress, these brain busters unlock one by one and become readily available to replay any time you want. Finish all of the stages associated with a difficulty set and you unlock cool music for some audio inspiration while playing.
If you feel like challenging yourself, you may also go for a speed run for each of the sets as soon as you unlock all of the corresponding stages. This is quite a pleasant improvement from Super Stacker's lack of extras and does add some replayability to the puzzles.
So what exactly adds that extra sugar on top of Super Stacker 2's mind bending puzzles? Plenty of clever, little details actually. While the premise remains unchanged, there are a lot of variations implemented on each puzzle.
For instance, some of the solutions are actually time based, making you scramble to complete a stack before a piece of it falls to the ground. This is usually the case for those balls that keep rolling down the slanted platforms.
As you may have gathered, angles do play a significant role in determining the proper piece to place on a platform. Do keep in mind however that once set in place, you are not allowed to pick up your shapes a second time. You can however, manipulate their position by using yet another, available puzzle piece. Does it sound challenging yet? You will have to think fast on your feet if you want to fit certain objects or to pin down items in place.
The Lighter Side of the Balance
To keep things fun, not all puzzles are tricky by nature. Some solutions are just downright silly, especially for those who have played the first installment of the series. There are a few Easter eggs scattered about such as a level wherein you stack blocks from smallest to biggest. Remember the introductory stage, returning Super Stacker fans? Another entertaining puzzle is one wherein you need only place one block to clear the level. Yes, it is silly and also very charming for puzzle geeks who appreciate a balance between brain teasers and a good time.
Think and Stare
As you may have gleaned from what we have been saying, Super Stacker 2 is a definite must play for people who want to tickle their brain with block stacking mayhem. With the speed run option, there is a significant replay value in the game to tide you over after your first run through a difficulty set. Now what about complementary details such as the graphics?
Well if there is one thing we liked about Super Stacker 2's visuals, it is the fact that they never interfere with the core game play. They are clean and simple, colored in muted hues to help you focus on puzzle solving. Just like in the first game, the actual puzzle pieces have silly faces which react to movements like wobbling, sliding and tilting. The menus are very easy to navigate and are not cluttered with unnecessary bits and bobs. While there is really nothing too fancy to see, we give a thumbs up to Super Stacker 2's thoughtful puzzle visuals.
Finished with the whole game? Happy with your best time on all the speed runs? Try player created levels and even share your own with others by using the Stack Editor. This nifty tool does what it says, you can create your very own puzzle from scratch.
Making a level is as simple as dragging shapes to your desired position and adding some to the queue. You may also alter a shape's width, height and angle before setting them in place. After you are done, you can test the level to see how it works before submitting it for the world to see.
Press the Share It button and you are given the honor of naming your clever creation. If you want quick access to it, simply copy its corresponding link. Sharing means you can tell friends to check it out online with the added bonus of getting a chance to be featured on the next Super Stacker installments. Who knows? This may be your virtual claim to fame.
So what is the verdict on this wibbly wobbly physics puzzle? We put it to the test and found it deserving of a high score due to its honest game play that is appropriate and appealing to a wide age range of puzzle solvers. It is challenging enough to warrant replaying for the speed run mode but refrains from inducing frustration to its players. The mini introductions may be short but they are witty enough with a touch of a hint here and there. The graphics may not win any awards, but it has pleasantly improved since the first game and the menus are given a touch of class. The music, being an unlockable feature, offers added incentives to anybody wishing to see the game through its progressive difficulties.
As for the puzzle themselves, well there is really nothing to complain about. Not every level will be impressive, but the balance of seriously challenging to fun and witty makes playing the whole game worthwhile. Add the value of the easy to use Stack Editor and you have got yourselves hours of fun from a slick stacking game. Normally, a casual game like this Game Home Page one hardly gets good scores, but for its sheer addictiveness and the fact that it requires some serious skills to play properly, we are inclined to give it excellent marks. We give this game a well balanced score of 84/100.