Neves Review

Touch-screen controls will help you achieve Zen with this large collection of tangram-style puzzles.

Neves is "seven" spelled backward. It's also an appropriate title for a puzzle game that involves creating specific designs by rotating, flipping, and placing seven unique shapes in such a way that they form the requested object without overlapping. Basically, this is the Nintendo DS equivalent of the traditional tangram puzzles that have existed for hundreds of years.

Of course, carrying around more than 500 puzzles in your DS is much more convenient than toting around a 500-page book and a set of wooden pieces. Manipulating those pieces with the stylus is pretty comfortable, too. You can tap and drag to move pieces around, tug on their corners to rotate them, and double tap them to flip them over. The seven discrete shapes look a little different than the shapes that come with a traditional Chinese tangram set, but the total surface area and overall number of possible permutations bear out roughly the same.

When you manage to fit all seven pieces into the silhouette, you've solved the puzzle.
When you manage to fit all seven pieces into the silhouette, you've solved the puzzle.

There isn't much to the presentation. You can see the different shapes clearly on the game board, which is a solid background imprinted with a silhouette of the final design. The various designs span the gamut of faces, animals, plants, machines, vehicles, and so on. Jazzy but repetitive music and chime-like sound effects accompany "the action." When you lock a piece into the silhouette, you'll hear a satisfying click.

Initially, you have four sets of puzzles to pick from, each of which contains approximately 45 individual puzzles. When you finish one of those sets, another set becomes available. In all, there are more than 500 unique puzzles. Three different play modes let you tackle those puzzles with or without a timer, or with a special restriction that challenges you to finish the puzzle in only seven moves. There's also a no-nonsense multiplayer mode, which lets you beam puzzles to a friend's DS and then compete to see who can solve them first.

Tangram-style puzzles are brain teasers that challenge your spatial-reasoning skills. Some people enjoy the intellectual stimulation brought about by the act of turning and placing the shapes. Some people don't. Neves doesn't really do anything to inject energy into the process, apart from the added timed and competitive modes, so it's not going to change your mind about tangrams one way or the other. It simply offers a convenient way to carry around and solve more than 500 unique tangram puzzles. If that's your idea of a good time, you won't regret the purchase.

The Good

  • More than 500 tangram puzzles to solve
  • Touch screen makes moving, rotating, and flipping pieces a breeze
  • Timed and two-player modes spice things up a little

The Bad

  • Barebones presentation and Zen premise may bore some people

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