Brush off the dust and have some fun!

Yuan Works and the new Dreamcast Puzzler

One of the most loved, but least successful, platforms of the previous generation was SEGA’s mighty Dreamcast. Released in Japan in 1998 and North America in the following year, it was packed with power and potential, but unfortunately it could not compete against Sony’s PlayStation 2 juggernaut and was discontinued in North America only a short two years after its introduction (it was officially discontinued in its native Japan in 2006). Despite its short lifespan outside of Japan, it has a rather large following of devotes and fans who continue to proclaim its greatness and new titles are still being developed for the little white box, the latest of which is “Wind and Water Puzzle Battles” by Yuan Works.

Wind and water Puzzle Battles title screen

Silicon Era has an excellent interview with Yuan-Hsi Chiang, one half of the team of brothers who started Yuan Works. First talking about Yuan Works’ general design philosophy and background, Yuan-Hsi Chiang then goes into the history of “Wind and Water Puzzle Battles”, which was originally a GP2X title, and why they chose the Dreamcast for a home console port.

Yuan Works logo

We hold firmly that video games are a form of art, with incredible achievements to prove it every year. Yet unfortunately several skills almost exclusive to this media (like pixel art and chiptune music) are deteriorating greatly nowadays, especially in the west. We try to make personal, quality games while preserving traditional game crafting techniques.


We simply make games we would like to play. If other people like them as well, even better! We like games with attention to detail, where everything is polished to give a nice experience. Well designed games, that look and sound beautiful, where you can unlock and find many extras; that give you a sentiment of fulfillment when you finish or just play them… To put it in a corny way, we like something that lets you know it was made with love and sacrifice, and that’s what we try to achieve.

Both Yuan-Hsi Chiang and his brother, Yuan-Hao Chiang, are fans of classic gaming, sprite artwork and chiptunes. Unlockable content in the Dreamcast version of “Wind and Water Puzzle Battles” include what could be described as a developer’s blog – a tale about the entire creative process behind the game, from generating the idea through to actual development and finalization.

Overworld map in singleplayer adventure mode

“Wind and Water Puzzle Battles” isn’t just a puzzle game, best saved for head-to-head battles. There’s an extensive single-player adventure mode, complete with a “Super Mario World”-style overhead map. Through this adventure mode, the player takes on the role of a new hire helping Yuan Works develop the game you are currently playing.

What actually happens at the end of the story is absolutely up to the player, and how much dedication they put will result in different rewards. Only Puzzle Masters will see the true conclusion to the story!



The Story Mode is also a fun way to learn the complex mechanics of the game, and by the time an average player finishes it, they become very good, which makes them want to play against someone else right away! Lastly the game was thought with superplays or speedruns also in mind, so there are many paths to finish the game, giving it more replay value to experts.

VMS-kun

I’m really excited about this game and plan to order as soon as it’s available. The disc will offer both Japanese and English text. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview and the home page for “Wind and Water” and Yuan Works!

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