Developed by KeysFactory and published by Nintendo on the 3DS eShop ($6.99), Ketzal's Corridors is likely the most challenging puzzle game you'll play for a very, very long time. That said, it's also one of the most rewarding for your efforts--and by "efforts" we mean retrying the game's 96 single-player levels over and over (and over) again to get every last gold coin. (In this day and age, we call this "The Angry Birds Effect.")
Gallery: Ketzal's Corridors on 3DS
Back to why Ketzal's Corridors is the most "hardcore" puzzle game this writer has ever played: the control concept. Each level in this puzzler leads players down a winding tunnel through various walls. However, each wall has a unique hole in it shaped to fit the puzzle piece you're currently playing with, which changes with each new world you visit on the game map. For instance, the first puzzle piece you learn to play with is a blue, S-shaped piece. But remember, this is a 3DS game.
As if the game's controls didn't present a steep enough learning curve, each tunnel in Ketzal's Corridors contains hearts, which ultimately contribute to getting the highest scores and the coveted gold coins. So while you're fiddling with the game's controls just to make sure the piece fits through each wall like a savant's shapes box, you're also racing to make sure your piece passes through every heart--and not every heart is immediately adjacent to the other.
Here's the icing on the cake: Almost every level in this puzzler is timed. In fact, the "L" trigger acts as a speed boost so that you can keep pace with the ticking clock. Ketzal's Corridors is a "hardcore" puzzle game through and through, especially considering the game introduces new shapes to learn every five or so levels. Once you think you've mastered the game, KeysFactory does its best to throw yet another curve ball.
The control scheme in Ketzal's Corridors is downright difficult, but something players will eventually master ... eventually. (But would there be any other way to do it?) Sadly, given the casual pedigree of the DS brand, that crowd might want to stick to Tetris and Bejeweled for now. If you're ready for a challenge that demands 3D, then by all means download away.
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