Polarion Impressions

We check out the Japanese puzzler that Nintendo will be bringing to the DS.

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LAS VEGAS--One of the pleasant surprises in the lineup of upcoming games that Nintendo showed off at CES was Polarion. The unique puzzler, known as Chokkan Hitofude (Intuitive Stroke) in Japan, was released last year and has a deceptively simple mechanic that makes good use of the DS's touch screen. Despite the game's charm, it didn't appear to be headed to the US, but Nintendo has thankfully stepped in and picked up the game for a stateside release.

The version of the game that Nintendo had on display appeared to be fully localized and featured English menus. Very little has changed from the import version we looked at late last year. The game's simple mechanic, which involves drawing a line to make the tiles under your stylus change color to either black or white to make blocks of like colors so you can then clear them, is deceptively simple but addictive.

Given the Japanese game's considerable charm, it shouldn't be much of a surprise when we say that Polarion will likely be a sleeper hit for the DS when it hits the States. The simple and addictive gameplay, smartly implemented use of the touch screen, and good challenge should prove to be a strong lure for those looking for a puzzler for the DS. Although we don't have a precise release date for the game yet, we expect it to ship early this year given the state of the version we saw.

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