This week for my GameTap review, I decided to take a chance and hit the random button. With 996 titles to choose from, of course, it landed on Sam & Max first. After that it landed on a couple of educational type titles that I just didn’t feel like playing, until finally it landed on Pyramid Magic. Originally for the Sega Genesis and available only in Japan, it looked to be your typical console puzzle game so I fired it up.
I’m sure there is a back story for this, but the story page was in Japanese, and while I speak a little of the language, my grasp of it is not enough to dive in and read a story. I’m mainly limited to asking where the bathroom is and other such travel necessities. But, its a puzzle game, so who needs a story? Right?
The game play works like this. Every board has 3 boxes: a wood crate, a red chest and a green chest. So, according to the Old Man Murray “Time to Crate” scale, Pyramid Magic rates at 0 seconds. Anyway, you have to break open the wood crate to get the red key which opens the red chest to get the green key which opens the green chest that reveals the magic piece of burlap which disables the robot. Yes, the burlap disables the robot. Take note of this, because after Judgment Day, you better have your stock of burlap ready to fight the Terminators. Watch out Sky Net, I’m armed with textiles! I suppose it is worth noting that in the age of KISS video game design, you break open the wood crate by kicking it… and you unlock the other crates also by kicking them. I mean, if I’m just going to kick them, why do I need the key? Because kicking it before you have the key doesn’t work, that’s why. In addition to the crates, keys and burlap, your intrepid robot fighting archaeologist is faced with a problem: he’s got a bad back, or something… what this means is that you can’t duck. Instead, to get through small spaces you must pick up large blocks of stone to force yourself to crouch down so you can fit into the smaller space, and then drop the block as you enter. Of course, it is absurd to think of it that way, which is why I did it, but really is just a way to add another dimension to the puzzle solving.
Every level of the game presents you with the challenge of using the blocks of stone to climb or crouch your way through to the crates to release the burlap and defeat the evil robots. Or at least that’s what the first 15 or so levels are like, then I got stuck and used all my lives trying to beat one stupid level (not the one pictured). Thankfully, in the style of a bygone era of gaming, every few levels the game gives you a code so you can jump back in approximately where you left off.
Pyramid Magic is a decently enjoyable puzzle game, in fact since graphics aren’t the main draw to casual puzzle games, it actually holds up fairly well given that the game is 17 years old. And if you like the game, Game Tap also has Pyramid Magic 2, Pyramid Magic 3, and a Pyramid Magic Special which is billed as a 4th game in the series but uses the graphics of the first so it really may have been the second game, essentially the first with new puzzles.