Publisher - Nintendo
Developers- Genius Sonority
Another spin off pokemon game rolled into game stores in 2006, Link (or Trozei for non- EU releases) is a charming little puzzler for the DS.
I'm not sure why someone would pick this game up themselves if they didn't have some interest in pokemon but knowledge of the pokemon universe isn't required to enjoy the game. I imagine it helps though.
There's a little bit of set up story, nothing wildly different from a generic 'you are the good guy, go stop the bad' explanation but I'm not really here for an engaging story. If it's a good enough puzzler it'll stand just fine without one. And it does.
Symbols representing pokemon drop down from the top of the top screen and form rows and columns that can be slid around on the bottom screen (this is a stylus only game). Your objective is to get four symbols in a horizontal or vertical row, they'll then disappear and start a link chance. This is your opportunity to clear the screen of symbols and boost your points up significantly. You have a couple of seconds to arrange a set of symbols, but only three in a row are needed this time. If you manage that then you only need to link pairs, if you can't after a moment the link chance state will wear off and you'll have to link four symbols again to get it back.
There's training levels to ease you in, and additional ones crop up throughout the game to introduce you to little tricks you might not have discovered yet.
Adventure is a little short, but is peppered with some boss fights. Various extra conditions and obstacles are thrown your way by pun named evil doers. The most common are speeding up the rate at which icons are dropped, turning the symbols into silhouettes (which can be pretty infuriating, many of the times the pokemon outlines are pretty similar to each other) which will go away if you manage to make a link and the last is them throwing a non-linkable object in. The only way to get rid of these is to connect them to a link with a ditto. Ditto acts as the wild card in this game and can link with everything.
The other two single player features are endless mode and forever mode. The names kinda sum them up, the game goes on till the screen completely fills up causing a game over. Clearing so many symbols puts you up a level and the pokemon change every level. In forever mode there are more columns but you have to link five pokemon to start up link chance.
After completing the story mode there are still plenty of aims left to complete. Every level has rare symbols that are difficult to link due to them either disappearing quickly or not wanting to show up much at all and if you exceed the point highscore for the stage you'll get a coin which buys you time in a special stage full of uncommon pokemon.
All these are mini goals stack towards finishing the big one, completing the pokedex. This is a pokemon game, it'd be a strange thing if it didn't encourage us to catch, or in this case link, them all.
Link came out before Diamond and Pearl were released so the pokedex caps out at 386, which is still plenty enough.
Multiplayer in the game is pretty fun, two carts aren't needed but lets you play the better options. You can send demo versions to other DS which is a feature I really do like.
What's the chance you'll stick it out though and finish everything? Honestly it's not high, after story mode is over it's not long till you're likely to start losing interest, but like Meteos and Tetris it's a game you'll pick up and play again in bouts and bursts.
This is a great game to pick up if you've got a bit of travel time coming up. Obsessively playing for a short amount of time when you get it then forgetting about it until you re-find it months later is likely to be the relationship most people would have with this game.
All in all this is a great little puzzler but it won't last you long till you put it away. This game wouldn't be half as interesting without the pokemon element which is treated as an integral part of game play and not as a gimmick. I paid £7 for this game and wasn't disappointed. It's worth at least £15/$20 but it's old DS game (been out for four years) and I imagine it can be found cheaply if you snoop around.