Shellblast HD is a puzzle game where you must diffuse bombs within a time limit. The closest puzzle game I can think that it is similar to is a cross between Minesweeper and Picross where you must use numbers to find the correct location of the mines/squares, in Shellblast HD you must work out the location on a bomb with the numbers found on a horizontal and vertical bar.
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Each bomb is made up of a group of octagonal tiles of two types; a Dud being an empty tile and a Piston which is the bomb trigger that must be found. To find the location of the Pistons you must use a horizontal and vertical bar known as the SDU which can be moved around the tiles and shows how many pistons are found on the path of the SDU.
A bit of brain power is required to use the information provided by the SDU to mark Dud and Piston tiles correctly before the bomb timer runs out. To help locate the Pistons you are occasionally provided with a number of Chaffs which can be used to reveal a tile. Once you have located all the Pistons you can proceed to start the bomb diffusing sequence which will show if you guessed correctly or incorrectly, the latter resulting in the bomb exploding and game over.
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The presentation of the game is done very well with a good menu design that is easy to navigate. Graphics are also done very well and include six themed tiles if you get bored of the standard design, the graphics are stylish and clean. Music and sounds suit the game and add to the tension, especially when you initiate the diffusion sequence which gives a ten second countdown, those ten seconds will be spent worrying if you marked the right tiles as pistons!
Shellblast HD starts off with the Campaign mode in which you play as a bomb expert who must travel from location to location diffusing bombs. There is no story and it is not needed, you simply choose the next location from a menu. There are 50 locations to complete which are split over the continents starting in USA.
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You start the game with just one standard Explosive bomb type with more introduced as you progress through the game. New types of bombs include a Noise bomb where Pistons on the SDU are not displayed due to being blocked by radio waves, and Biological bombs where you are time penalised for marking Dud tiles or incorrectly marking Pistons. The different bomb types add a good variety to the game and each require a different approach than the Explosive bomb.
Each bomb location in the Campaign have their own tile design, but every time you attempt the bomb the location of the Duds and Pistons change. This can sometimes result in a tricky puzzle on one attempt which leads to failing, followed by a comparatively easy puzzle the next attempt. This can be helpful in that it helps you to progress in the game, but at the same time I sometimes felt that if a puzzle was too hard I knew the next one would probably be easier to complete.
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The Freeplay modes are plentiful with six to choose from. Shelldrop is a fast paced mini game where you have three lives and a longer time limit where you must diffuse as many bombs as possible. Simulation Chamber and Blast Editor modes allow you to create and save your own game type and bomb design and then diffuse them. The Endurance mode sees a bomb split into seven pieces which must be separately diffused, each piece then making a larger bomb to diffuse. The Puzzled mode has a limited SDU which can only be used in a number of patterns which makes a very challenging game mode! Finally there is the Nuke mode where you team up with an AI player to cooperatively diffuse a bomb.
Puzzle games are ten a penny on Indie Games but this stands out from the rest. There is enough content and variety in the game modes to keep you occupied for many hours and even more if you want to win all the awards. Shellblast HD costs 400 :MSPoints: which is the right price and it is worth it, I would often find myself playing for long periods of time while I was only supposed to be taking notes for the review. If you enjoy puzzle games this gets a big thumbs up from me, actually two big thumbs up!
You can find out more about Shellblast HD on the Marketplace.