When I need a break from whichever RPG or adventure game I’m currently playing, I usually gravitate towards a puzzle game. Every year I sink hundreds of hours into classics like Picross S, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and WildSnake and I’m always eager to find a new addictive puzzler. Yuso, by Vertical Reach is out this month and at only $7.99 it piqued my interest.
Yuso are alien life forms that have invaded each planet in our solar system. You are a space doctor tasked by the planet guardians to eradicate all of these pests. These aliens are simple blob characters that come in four different colors. They certainly don’t look dangerous, but apparently they are not welcome on any of the 8 planets. You must clear each stage by popping all of these creatures. When you select a Yuso it will pop and clear the bordering ones that are colored the same. If a Yuso in the path is colored differently, it will not pop, but will instead change colors. It is common to make mistakes and end up leaving a Yuso stranded by itself or be left with ones of all different colors, making it impossible to clear the board. When this occurs there is no penalty, you can either rewind your moves, or restart the stage. Like most puzzle games, this is a fairly easy game to learn, but somewhat difficult to master.
Additionally there are 3 other hazards in the game. Bombs explode after a set number of turns. Upon detonation they change the colors of all Yuso touching them, which can severely screw up your strategy for the stage. Nightcaps put Yuso to sleep after a few turns, which can add the biggest challenge to the game since you need to first wake them up in order to then pop them. Even early on in the levels, I found myself wearing out the rewind button due to sleeping Yuso and the problems they caused. There is a lot of trial and error here and really only practice makes perfect.
The game is simplistic looking and has very cutesy graphics, which fits the game for what it is. The only real sense of character is from the planet guardians. Each one, Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc. talk with you when you begin and complete the planets, and they all have their own zany personalities. Thankfully these conversations are short and don’t interrupt the flow of the game. There’s not a whole lot to say about the music. It changes on each of the planets, but it’s quite bland and not memorable. The controls are very easy to learn and the game plays well in handheld mode or on your television.
There are over 80 levels across the 8 planets. The planets unlock upon completion of so many stages, so if you get really stuck on one, you can probably move on to the next planet. The game can be quite difficult, but with the no-penalty rewind button, most can probably get through this game in 2-3 hours. Sadly there’s not much in the way of special features or options. I would have liked an option to make the game more challenging by adding a timed mode, or a punishing no-rewind mode.
I found Yuso to be an average puzzle game. It is enjoyable but fails to do anything revolutionary or memorable, and doesn’t have the addictive qualities of the classics. Its short length and lack of options doesn’t help its cause. I had a lot more fun with the recently released Hexologic. However, at only $7.99 it may be worth checking out, especially if playing on the go.
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
Yuso is a mediocre puzzle game that did very little to keep me hooked. The game lacks that “just one more turn” aspect needed for a puzzle game to be considered a classic. Some will probably find some redeeming qualities here, but there are way better puzzle games to consider before purchasing this one.
Yuso was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Aaron got his NES in 1991 and has loved and collected video games ever since. In addition to gaming, he enjoys Stephen King novels, Twins Baseball, and his cats.