With the Internet slowly replacing the postal service as the preferred method of sending messages, stamp collecting isn’t as popular as it once was. That doesn’t stop Super Stamp from being an enjoyable homage to the hobby – provided you like your puzzle games simple and uncomplicated.
There is no story to speak of in Super Stamp – no intriguing mystery to solve, no family restaurant to save… the goal is just to fill up your binder with stamps, which you earn by completing a series of stamp-themed puzzle levels.
In each puzzle you’ll see various stamps that have their picture missing. You must fill in the stamp by dragging the correct picture onto it from the row of pictures along the bottom of the screen. There are several variations of puzzle: in Classic mode, the goal is simple to clear all stamps from the screen before time runs out, while in Score mode you must reach the target score. In Line-up, new rows of stamps slowly appear from the bottom of the screen and you must clear them before they reach the top. In Frenzy mode, stamps fall from the sky a la Tetris and you must clear them before one of the columns touches the top of the screen. In Color Match mode, if you match one stamp, all stamps of the same color touching it will disappear as well.
Each time you clear a level, you’ll add a new stamp or two to your collection, which can be viewed from the main menu. There are 10 collections grouped by theme, such as toys, transportation, animals, music and sport, and 141 stamps to collect in all. You’ll also earn 13 extra trophy stamps for achievements like eliminating stamps quickly, or clearing 15 stamps with one move.
Each collection offers an overhead map of sorts, where you can see your progress and how many more stages you need to clear to finish the collection. There are branching pathways, so you can decide which path to take based on which type of puzzle you prefer to play. Of course, if you want to collect all the stamps you’ll have to play every level. If you’ve missed any stamps along the way, you can go back and replay levels at any time.
The final stage of each collection is a special jigsaw puzzle. It’s simple and not challenging, but completing the puzzle earns you a special postcard to add to your binder. In between levels you’ll learn facts about stamp collecting, such as what the earliest, rarest and most expensive stamps are.
Besides the main mode, there’s Free Play where you can focus on one particular style of puzzle.
My one issue with Super Stamp was that I sometimes found some of the outlines hard to distinguish from others, making it difficult to figure out which shape I was supposed to fit into it. This is particularly true of some of the flowers and monuments. In the levels where the rows are being pushed up from the bottom, this can actually make the game quite stressful.
Depending on the type of gamer you are, you might find yourself asking "Is this it?" when it comes to Super Stamp‘s gameplay. Admittedly, it’s not as complicated or bombastic as some of the other puzzle games we’ve reviewed, but it’s compelling in its own right, and the motivation to keep playing to collect all the attractive-looking stamps is strong.