VGJ Review: Elefunk (PSN)

Most, if not all, of the greatest puzzle games of all time are those which require quick thinking and twitch reflexes to beat with any proficiency. Those same, great titles also often require little thinking and minimal planning. Elefunk shares none of those traits with many of it’s fellow puzzle titles but is still an immensely enjoyable experience.

Elefunk has the simple concept of moving elephants from one side of the screen to the other. The only problem is that there are large chasms, flesh eating piranhas and (eeek!) mice blocking your path to safety. There is also the fact that you have limited resources, in the form of platforms, metal and wood frames, ropes and more, to help you build those pathways.

Elefunk requires that you simply build a structurally sound path for your pachyderm and, like a game of Mouse Trap, sit back and watch as your structures hold up to the weight of the animals or break and send them hurdling to their unfortunate demise. This inability to directly control the action leads to different forms of excitement as you sit back and hope you did a good job. And, even when your structure is not as strong as you hoped, losing is not as much aggravating (as other games can be) as a call to stick with it and make more and more modifications to complete each stage.

Although the game does score you on how quickly you complete each level, you never feel pressed, in single player anyway, to rush the job. Multplayer does add that frantic element of having to do a great job and decide when you are comfortable enough to hit start and watch your creation in action. The ability to sit back and ponder how you will construct each bridge is a great change of pace and definitely highlights the use of skills that are often underutilized in many similar titles.

While Elefunk does not require reliance on skills which have become second nature to many gamers, like quick buttons presses and decision making, it is still enjoyable as it requires the use of careful planning and those geometry skills from 6th grade you never thought you’d need again. This game may not go down with some of the greatest puzzle games of all time but it is certainly fun in its own right and is definitely a standout in the current generation’s puzzle offerings.

Score: 8.0