Innovative puzzle games are hard to come by in this day and age. Thankfully, Yuso offers a simple yet unique puzzle-filled world that'll keep you trying to solve its clever puzzles for hours.
Yuso is played by selecting colourful circular chums using either buttons or touch controls. You play as a space doctor and your goal is to travel the solar system and clear each stage of all its pesky Yuso. Upon touching a Yuso, it explodes and all surrounding Yuso of the same colour are wiped out in the process. If an adjacent Yuso is not of the same colour then it will be painted the colour of the exploded Yuso and if a Yuso is asleep, it will simply wake up. The catch is that you have to have at least one adjoining Yuso of the same colour in order to explode one so being able to clear out every last one is a lot trickier than you'd think because you might end up with a few stragglers. As you progress through the campaign, you'll encounter additional complexities such as sleep bombs that add a lot of challenge. Overall, the core gameplay is simple and easy to play yet it's complex enough to offer a somewhat diverse dynamic.
For an indie puzzler, Yuso certainly looks and sounds great. For starters, the graphics consist of soft colours and the Yuso are charming as each colour expresses an emotion such as happiness, anger, sleepiness, and the yellow guy sure looks annoyed, doesn't he? This cute visual style is reflected in the gentle music as well. Each planet (of which there are 8; sorry, Pluto) features its own delightful gentle melodies and it's a joy to listen to as you solve the puzzles. Additionally, the sound effects are adorable although you'll mainly only hear a couple over and over again. I wish each colour of Yuso had its own sound effect but they unfortunately all sound the same.
Although Yuso's campaign is stage-based, you don't have to play through it linearly. This is due to the accommodating world progression system which merely requires you to succeed in a portion of the previous stages in order to advance. You can select any stage in any unlocked planet. Therefore, going back to solve a few puzzles so you can unlock a further planet is rather rewarding stuff.
Yuso is definitely a charming and enjoyable puzzler but it does have its downsides. The main issue that I have with it is that its challenge relies primarily on trial and error as opposed to critical thinking and practical strategy. I'm usually awesome at puzzle games and love to be challenged but for a lot of stages in Yuso, I simply felt that it was easier to try different approaches than it was to carefully consider my next move. As a result, I ended up clicking around randomly in order to get a firm grasp of each puzzle before being able to solve it. On top of all this, I found the difficulty to be very random. Sometimes, I'd fly through about 5 stages in a row without having to redo anything then get stuck on the next stage no matter how hard I tried to complete it.
Finally, Yuso suffers from the same problem that a lot of indie puzzlers have which is the fact that there really aren't any replay incentives. Once you finish the 80 included stages, there's no reason to play them through again. I wish there was a timed challenge mode or other such content in order to extend Yuso's replay value because as it is, there's little to do once you're done the campaign.
Yuso is an adorable puzzle game that anyone can play with ease. However, its reliance on trial and error and lack of replay value hold it back from being a must-have noodle-scratcher.
- + Simple gameplay that's easy to learn yet has a decent amount of added complexities
- + Super-cute visuals and soundtrack
- + Accommodating world unlock system
- - Gameplay relies far more on trial and error than strategic thinking
- - No replay incentives or sense of challenge
- - Difficulty feels very random