DukWite Goes Commercial

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A few weeks ago, Developer Pocket New released a commercial version of their popular freeware title DukWite.

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Read on for a comparison of the two versions and find out if this game is worth paying for.

Just to clarify, the freeware version of DukWite is called "DukWite", while the commercial version is officially called "DukWite I." I'll simply refer to them as the "freeware" and "commercial" versions.

Gameplay

DukWite is billed as an "action/puzzle" game, but in my opinion it's more of just a pure puzzle game. Each level is filled with boxes and your job is to pick these up, move them, and then drop them in a way that allows you to walk on them and reach the exit. It can therefore be likened to a side-view version of Sokoban. You can only pick up one box at a time and you can jump up to a height of one box (thus, if you have two stacked boxes you can't jump on top of them but jumping onto one box is no problem). In addition to simply trying to get from point A to point B you have to worry about the order in which you do things because if you don't you may find yourself in a hole with no way to get out.

Comparison of the Freeware and Commercial Versions

The most notable difference between the two versions is in the graphics department. In addition to subtle improvements in the graphics themselves, the commercial version features movement that is much less choppy than its freeware counterpart. Another change is that the spherical orbs of the freeware version have been replaced by boxes in the commercial version.

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The freeware version

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The commercial version

The commercial version also adds several new graphics enhancements to the pregame and between-level experience. In the freeware version, when you start a new game, you're immediately taken to the first level. The commercial version, by contrast, takes you to a screen beforehand that looks like a miniature version of an actual level. Each level is represented by a dot on the screen and so as you progress through the levels, you are also advancing towards your goal on this screen. It's similar to the system employed in Super Mario World (SNES):

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Additionally, the commercial version has a between-level graphic that summarizes information like how long it took you to complete the game, etc.

Both versions contain pretty good music and the commercial version adds a few sound effects not found in the freeware version. The commercial version also allows you to change the default controls. The freeware version of DukWite contains 12 levels, while the commercial version contains 16 (the levels are different in each version).

One particularly nice change in the commercial version of DukWite is that pressing the "up" key now moves you forward in addition to making you jump. In the freeware version, jumping over a sphere required three separate keypresses: right, up, and then right. In the commercial version, pressing and holding the "up" key will suffice. This may seem like a small thing but it makes playing the game a much easier affair from a control standpoint.

Any Room for Improvement?

There is only one feature that is glaring missing from both versions of DukWite in my opinion, and that is an "undo" button. When a particularly difficult level is stumping you towards the end, it can get annoying to have to go through the entire level all over again after making a mistake. An "undo" button would take care of this issue.

The levels get progressively harder in DukWite but I would still like to see more of them. I can't imagine that making more would be too difficult from a development standpoint because the engine and everything is already in place. Similar puzzle games, such as Sokoban and Super Miners have dozens of levels, and I wish there were more in DukWite.

Is It Worth It?

The commercial version of DukWite isn't a radical departure from its freeware counterpart; it's a refinement of it. As such, answering the question of whether or not you should pay $5.95 for the commercial version is relatively simple: if you like the freeware version then acquiring the commercial version is a no brainer. If you didn't like it, then the commercial version isn't going to change that.

As someone who enjoys puzzle games, I think this game is definitely worth $5.95. And in continuing to refine it, the developer has shown an admirable dedication to its product that many Windows Mobile game developers sadly lack. This is a great game, and with the addition of an "undo" button and, say, 50 levels, this would be a fantastic game.

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