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The launch of the PSP Minis has seen a large array of games. Vempire is no exception with Impressionware’s off the wall take on Bejeweled. The game is broken up into ten different worlds which each contain four levels. To make things interesting, you’ve got to break blocks and vials in addition to collecting gold in order to buy minions who you’ll later summon to help you on your quest. Each world has a different enemy to face, and they all do their best to make sure you don’t break enough blocks in the time limit. The graphics are really good, and there are some awesome effects, like when they spin your screen around to mess you up, or turn all the blocks into question marks! The difficulty ramps up at a nice slow pace and hints will pop up on the screen to get you into the game and the world of Vempire. Music in a puzzle game is pretty important since it’s something you could be hearing for hours. Impressionware did a good job at making music that you don’t really notice as you’re playing, but when you do listen to the simple tunes, they seem like the right fit for the game. The monsters of the empire may make a noise here or there, but nothing too noticeable. Collecting the gold and getting the artifacts are a big game changer and at times it feels like a Puzzle Quest lite. The shop has game changing effects that you can use gold to buy, which make playing through the levels a lot different and adds to the replay value. Even after beating the game, it just draws me back in to play it more and more. There’s a time limit for every level in which you need to break enough blocks to move on. My one complaint is that this is indicated by a percentage bar, instead of telling you the actual number of blocks. The way they have it fits with the theme of the game, though it wouldn’t have broken from that too much by simply putting a number on the screen. The game controls are so easy to pick up and play that anyone, from you niece to your grandma, can play it and have a blast. Impressionware takes the ‘match three’ puzzle game design and adds a fourth. The shoulder buttons and the d-pad will become your best friends as moving four blocks or vials at a time becomes a game in itself. Making sure you can set up multiple breaks in one rotation is a great feeling that the game pulls off really well. Vempire is one of those games that you turn on to play for five or ten minutes and next thing you know four hours have flown by. Once you get a feel for the game you will want to play through to the end only to play it all over again. A fantastic game and a wonderful twist on the classic puzzle game. Vampires are totally in right now, but even if you’re feeling vampire fatigue, Vempire is worth every penny.
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