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August 9, 2007 - The PlayStation Store is slowly building up its library of interesting and good (or even great) titles to make it stand toe-to-toe with its competitors. While a significant portion of the original content thus far has lived in the realm of the puzzle genre, when you find games like [Register or Login to view links] on there, you'll find that that's not such bad thing. And considering that you can pick up said fun and hectic little egg matcher for only $2.99, it's a game that's simply hard to pass up.

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Line up multiple rows of eggs for big combos.

Piyotama's story goes that Mother Piyo (Piyomama) lays a few eggs in Hotai forest every year to fill it with her colorful Piyo (chicken) offspring. This year though, she got a little too frisky and laid too many eggs. That means it's your job to help hatch the eggs before her nest overflows.

It's not often that you find a story attached to a puzzle game, and like almost every one of those instances, the story doesn't matter for squat. The goal of the game is simply to manipulate and match colored eggs to score points. It sounds very much like a lot of other puzzle titles out there, but there are enough twists here to keep Piyotama feeling fresh.

Rather than swapping the eggs inside of the nest (ala Bejeweled or similar titles), you push on a row with your basket and can then rotate the three overflow eggs that you hold outside of the nest. This means that while it's easy to swap the eggs on the outer portion, it takes a bit more skill to get the ones in the middle all twisted and lined up in order. This also extends to diagonal lines as well as creating one of these lines from scratch would take a number of moves, so it's better to pick your battles, so to speak.

Where things get interesting is with its combo system. When you get four or more in a row, you begin a new combo chain. You then have a few seconds to get another row lined up before the eggs hatch, which then gives you a few more seconds and so on and so forth. While we were able to get 10+ combos going, some of the folks atop the leaderboards are up in the 40+ range. Of course, the bigger the combo, the bigger your point total gets.

There are a couple other interesting aspects of the formula. The Sixaxis motion control is in play, allowing you to jolt the controller to prematurely hatch any eggs and end an existing combo (which is most useful in multiplayer when you're getting stacked up). It will also shake the screen and jostle the eggs on the board, shifting the places of some and causing others to fall into gaps in lines. On the other end of the spectrum, you can call in additional eggs to fill the board a little more, which pushes you closer to failure if you're unable to use them but also gives you more to work with for bigger combos. So that tradeoff is always available to you and it's something you need to manage properly for maximum scoring opportunities.

What all of this means is that Piyotama is a little more complex than most matching games, causing you to think on your feet a little more and utilize the entire game board a little better. Whereas you may ignore sections of the board in other puzzlers while focusing on one spot, you need to keep track of the whole thing here to really do well.

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Be free, little Piyos! Be free!

The one downside is that since it can be so hard to intentionally create complex lines, we found ourselves randomly moving around eggs in hopes of bigger and better combos once we've started one. This doesn't necessarily break the entire game, but it does mean that unless you're an absolute master and are capable of perfectly lining up combo after combo, manically shifting eggs will often result in higher scores then slowly figuring out the "proper" way to do things.

Regardless of this flaw, Piyotama is a really fun puzzler that anyone should try out. It's super cheap and different enough from similar games that you'll find something unique here. And its cute style and music is a treat for your eyes and ears.

Closing Comments
Piyotama is great fun. It's simple and yet complex at the same time, allowing players to jump in quickly and have some fun while also providing plenty of depth for anyone who wants to really dig in and master the game. Randomly shuffling pieces once you've started a combo can result in good scores and does diminish the hard work that you should be doing, but it's still fun despite this fact. And at only $2.99, how can you go wrong?

IGN Ratings for Piyotama (PS3)
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7.0 Presentation
There aren't all that many options, but the "instructional" demo videos are a nice inclusion.

7.0 Graphics
The visuals are certainly simple, but the art style is eye-pleasing and it's sharp as a razor.

7.5 Sound
The music is somewhat catchy and the sound effects are cute.

7.5 Gameplay
There's a fair bit of depth to be found here, but it's also easy to get into.

8.0 Lasting Appeal
It's a puzzler, which means you'll keep coming back time and time again for high scores, and the leaderboards help this. Two-player is fun as well, though you can't play online.

7.5 Good OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)

Thanks to [Register or Login to view links] for sharing the news with us!