While battling a nasty flu, the moon sneezed and knocked the stars out of the sky. Now, it's up to you to reunite the stars with their haloes so they can fly back into space. That's the story behind Kurupoto: Cool Cool Stars, a puzzle game for the Nintendo DS that's certainly unique but not really all that interesting or time consuming.
Kurupoto is about solving mazes. In each of the game's nearly 200 mazes, you have to guide a rounded star to its halo simply by rotating the entire maze multiple times. For every quarter turn you make, the star and any loose square blocks inside the maze will shift then fall into place. The whole idea is to manipulate the blocks so that they fill gaps, open passages, and generally help you get the star into the goal. Of course, one wrong turn and they may end up blocking your path. That's the long and the short of strategy in Kurupoto: figuring out how to get to the goal in the fewest turns possible.
The controls are simple enough. You can use the shoulder buttons to rotate the maze, or you can tap icons on the touch screen to do so. Apart from the times when you need to choose modes and puzzles in a menu, you can literally control the game with one finger.
Once you get the hang of it, the majority of puzzles can be solved in less than 30 seconds. Some last upward of 40 turns, but most take 10 turns or less. If you're trying to earn the minimum turn award for a puzzle, you may need to make two or three attempts. After you solve the 27 basic puzzles in the story mode, you'll unlock 30 more puzzles in the normal mode. Completing those puzzles unlocks another group of puzzles. In all, there are approximately 200 different puzzles to solve. That may seem like a large number, but it only takes about two hours to get through all of them because they're short and generally easy. You'd need even less time to finish the game if it actually let you skip the poorly translated conversation scenes that appear after every puzzle in the story mode.
Crudely translated bits of dialogue along the lines of "Here is close to the cape of Kurupoto island" suggest that precious little money and effort were put into the presentation. However, the colorful backgrounds and crisp maze objects do at least get the job done. Younger players will probably get a kick out of the facial gestures the blocks and stars in the maze make. They'll also likely enjoy the cute interactions that occur between the bouncy Kurupoto blocks and the mythical creatures you encounter in the story mode's conversation scenes. Happy music and whimsical sound effects further serve to keep the overall mood light.
Kurupoto might be an appropriate game to give a young child if you're going on a long car ride, but that's about it. Otherwise, most people will find the design and puzzles too simplistic. Also, there is too little content overall when you consider the $20 asking price.