Sometimes a game has a very straight forward name, like Puzzle Boy, and when it’s brought to the US it gets renamed for some reason. In this case, Acclaim decided to rename Puzzle Boy to Kwirk. I’m not sure why they went with the change. Kwirk is made by Atlus and is a fun puzzle game. It’s very simple and easy to pick up and play. There isn’t much to it. Your goal is to make it from one side of the screen to the other where you go up stairs or just move to the next screen.
The game was released in 1989 when anything could be used as a protagonist. It can also be changed from one strange thing to another. In Japan, Puzzle Boy is a potato and has a group of vegetables as friends. I would have thought other toots would be used, but I guess they wanted something different. In the US, our potato was changed into a tomato with a group of vegetables as his friends. This fits a little better in my opinion.
The story of the game, because you really need a story for a puzzle game, involves you exploring a city, going into the underground, and getting lost. You need to find your girlfriend and you get helped at times from your veggie friends. Your friends are Curly Carrot, Eddy Eggplant, Pete the Pepper, and Sass the Squash. I wasn’t able to tell the difference between then. I’m guessing they play a larger role in the Vs Mode which I didn’t try out.
The game has three modes for you to play. Going Up was the mode I played the most. In this mode you move from one side of the room to a set of stairs. Along the way you have to move blocks, go though turnstiles, and push blocks into holes to make a safe path. Some of these can be a little tricky, but they aren’t overly difficult. The second mode, Going Out, I similar to the previous with the exception of just moving from one room to the next. There are also two ways to view the play field. You can get a view with shadows and the other view removed the shadows. I didn’t see much of a difference as each view is very similar.
In Going Up, your score is based on how long it takes you to complete a level and how many steps you take. These are simple levels which increase in difficulty as you move through the ten floors. In some of the levels one of your veggie friends helps you get through the level. Why are they just waiting for you? How did they get there? I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter, just go with it! Heading out is basically the same but has different level layouts and you don’t move up stairs. I guess this means you just stay in the city’s underground, or you just emerge from it, miles from the city. I’m not sure how this helps you and your girlfriend as the two of you are not no where near your car. I’m guessing you took a car to the city.
After publishing Kwirk through Acclaim, Atlus would release two more Puzzle Boy games. The first was Spud’s Adventure, Puzzle Boy II in Japan, was released in 1991. This game is an action-rpg and has you playing as Spud who is trying to save Princess Mato, who I’m assuming is a Tomato like Tammy from Kwirk. I could be wrong though. The next game is Amazing Tater and was released in 1991 in Japan, and 1992 in the US. This plays more like Kwirk. Atlus would publish both games.
This is a fun little puzzle game which didn’t get boring for me. Many of these black and white, or pea soup green and very light green depending on what you’re playing it on, are fun pick up and play games. One thing I found interesting about Puzzle Boy is how the US didn’t get a console Puzzle Boy. Atlus seems to have given up on the Puzzle Boy series. They haven’t made another since 91. It’s one of the many franchises which they seem to have moved on from.