Review: Lup Salad for the PS3, PSP and PS Vita

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Title: Lup Salad
Price: $5.99
System(s): PS Vita (Also available on PS3, PSP)
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher (Developer): GungHo Online Entertainment America (Fupac)
ESRB Rating: N/A, but it’s easily an all-ages game

Lup Salad is a surprisingly big game in Japan, even though we’re only getting it in North America for the first time in the PS1 Imports section. Rupupu Cube: Lup Salad first appeared on the PlayStation, but was so well received that it also found its way to both the DS and the PSP. I guess you could consider it a classic and, after playing even a few levels of the original Lup Salad on your PS3, PSP or PS Vita, it’s easy to see why.

Everybody knows colored boxes disappear when grouped together.

Lup Salad‘s story is a bit weird and my Japanese isn’t amazing, so I’ll try and sum up what happens as best I can. Lup Salad follows a little girl named Salad as she travels around the world, having adventures and doing stuff. In each area, she gets to push colored blocks around to eliminate them. Once she completes every level for an area, she gets to continue on her journey of fun.

This involves pushing lots of blocks around a small area in the hopes you can match up three or more of the same color to eliminate them from the stage. Salad can jump up one block level and across one block-sized gaps. Also, if she pushes a block, she’s only pushing the blocks in front of her and not the ones on top. Aside from normal colored blocks, she also has to deal with wild-card rainbow blocks, empty blocks that disappear next to any block, bomb blocks that make all blcoks of that color disappear, giant blocks that bigger than usual, balloon blocks that float and finally taped blocks that all stick together.

So, get Salad out there and make her start pushing brightly colored boxes!

Sorry, I can’t get to that today, I’m all blocked up.

I got stuck on the 11th Lup Salad stage. It wasn’t for long, as I figured out the solution within five minutes, but still. That puzzle stumped me. Some may take this as a bad sign, given Lup Salad is a 200 level game, but I prefer to think of it as a positive. Despite its colorful, childlike and innocent appearance, Lup Salad is a box-pushing puzzle game that will challenge the player and force him or her to think creatively to clear every block from the screen. If you mess up, it happens. Press start, select the second menu option and then press circle to restart with no penalties. No one is judging you. Just do your best and push those colored blocks around until they hit two similarly colored blocks to make them disappear.

As challenging as Lup Salad eventually proves itself to be, there’s something reassuring about it. The puzzles will start getting challenging, but the situation is never hopeless. There is always a solution. Granted, you may sit there staring at the screen for about 10 minutes waiting for that Ah-ha! moment, but it will come. The only thing is, the music seems designed to keep that moment from coming.

The soundtrack in Lup Salad consists of one song repeated ad nauseum. It isn’t a bad song, persay. It’s a jaunty, happy tune song by a young girl. The first few times you hear it, it’s quite pleasant. It’s even cute. It’s not. That song soon turns condescending. The precious child singing that theme is mocking you because you lack the mental skills necessary to work out how the blocks must be arranged in level 52 so you can move on to level 53. It is a fiendish demon who will not be satisfied until you admit you’re a failure and just give up.

Ahem, yes, music isn’t one of Lup Salad‘s finer points. Be ready to mute it.

Fortunately, the Lup Salad visuals aren’t mocking your puzzle-solving abilities. All blocks are brightly colored with different images on them, making it easy to reunite them. Salad is also quite adorable, with costumes that change depending on which group of level you’re playing through. The backgrounds of each level is also different, alluding to the part of the adventure Salad is going through at the immediate moment.

I love matching blocks in the arctic, the park and other crazy locations

Separately, block-pushing and match-3 games can get incredible tedious. They all start to blend together and feel the same. Yet, Lup Salad‘s combination of the two feels like a perfect fit. Yes, people are still shoving boxes and the point is to match three or more of the same color, but Lup Salad makes it both bearable and interesting. You get to a point where you look forward to getting those blocks into the perfect position to make them disappear. Not to mention each puzzle is different and there are plenty available. Lup Salad is a solid puzzle game and the only drawback is the unsettling singing that taunts players in every level.

Site [Lup Salad]

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  • playstation 3

    I recommend that anyone who loves block games checks this one out. I played this game over Christmas and really enjoyed it.