reviews\ Jul 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm

The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts review


Co-releases can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, you expect both titles to be similar in quality given the fact that they are both released simultaneously by the same developers. But on the other hand, they each cater to a certain type of audience. The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts is very different from its sister release, Puzzling Pages, for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a much better game. But it also tries its hand at the tower defense formula rather than going the puzzle route.

The plot in Chaotic Conflicts is centered around a boy named Kina who finds a picture book. Like in Puzzling Pages, this picture book is filled with magic, spells, and unnatural powers. Unlike Puzzling Pages, however, you aren’t working alongside the main character. Here, Kina is set on destroying all of the blue jewels found within the pages of the storybook, and he challenges you to prevent him from doing so.

Each level in Chaotic Conflicts takes place on a single screen. Blue jewels are strewn across the stages, and it is your job to prevent them from being destroyed by Kina’s badbear units. Using the Wii Remote, you must toss your paper bear units onto the level. Once they hit the pages of the open picture book, they move automatically, and they’ll either take out enemy units or grab power-ups.

Part of the reason Chaotic Conflicts plays so much better than its co-release is that your units don’t need to land precisely in one spot. If you throw them too far or not far enough, they begin making their way toward the enemy, as opposed to Puzzling Pages, where they just stand still and eventually disappear.

Still, while Chaotic Conflicts may be much better than Puzzling Pages, it’s not without its flaws. Like its sister release, Chaotic Conflicts does contain that trial-and-error style of gameplay, though on a much smaller scale. And while you won’t run out of power-ups too often, this is still something that can happen, and you will feel annoyed when you realize you’ve gotten far into a level only to have to restart it.

The controls in Chaotic Conflicts aren’t perfect, but due to the game’s design, they’re far more forgiving than they are in Puzzling Pages. You point the Wii Remote at the screen, tilt it left or right to choose the direction of your throw, hold A or B, and give it a flick. The motion controls aren’t perfect, but they work well enough to keep the game from becoming a frustrating ordeal.

The game’s graphical approach is a take on the childlike-yet-dark look. Story sequences have a distinct pop-up look, while stages feature creative backgrounds. Unfortunately, there isn’t much variety, and while the levels themselves look decent overall, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel like you’ve already seen it all.

The game’s soundtrack is right on par with the visual presentation. The music is slightly eerie, with chimes and bells, but with only a handful of tracks included in the game, you’ll soon grow bored of the sound design. It’s a shame, too, because it would have been a real treat if each of the game’s levels featured its own dark, moody themes.

With only 30 stages to play through, Chaotic Conflicts isn’t a long game by any means, and you can definitely get a much longer-lasting title for 1000 Wii Points. But if you want to play a game that takes a slightly different approach at the tower defense genre, and you can overlook the game’s short length, this is a decent download. You can play additional levels if you download Puzzling Pages as well, but spending 1000 Wii Points on such a poor game just to get a few extra chapters in this good game is something you should do at your discretion. There’s also some DLC available for those who want to expand their time in the world of Chaotic Conflicts. And you can always go back to the levels you’ve cleared and go for the platinum medal if you want to squeeze every ounce of replay value that this game has to offer.

The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts isn’t a perfect game. Realistically, it would be hard to even call it a great game. But those who want some simple tower defense gameplay need look no further. Chaotic Conflicts is a competent title despite its flaws, and there’s a lot of fun to be had here.


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