The critics thrashed it. The people who bought thinking it was Tetris hate it. Since I tend to like odd items that nobody else likes (Starship Troopers, Double Team, Lunar, Phantasy Star), this was one of those games where I took the reviews quite lightly. In all honesty, if I bought the PS2 when it was released, this was one of the games that I would have bought.
I admit, I am horrible with puzzle games. My Tetris skills aren't the best, I can't pass Zelda (on the Gameboy) and well, you get the idea. In terms of this game, it will take me a while to get a hang of it. My girlfriend on the other hand, needed 2 tries to get past Level 1. I have yet to get there. And yes, I do know that I am pathetic.
The graphics are pretty neat. Of the games and demos I've seen, I haven't been disappointed with the PS2's graphics. The explosions are really cool and when you chain the fireworks into a 50 or more chain, it's just awesome. Oh, did I mention that it looks like it takes place in Seattle. In the replay mode, we see what could be the Space Needle AND a dome (Kingdome, I think).
The tutorial (yes, there is one and it helped ME) is a bit quiet, the instructor has a fairly soft voice. The music is... Well, typical music fare. It's a little better than the elevator music in Gran Turismo2, but not that much better. However, it does not distract from playing. No, there are other things to distract you during play. And it's no necessarily the game. (Cats, significant other, parents, room mates, work, phones, etc...)
It's an addicting game, though once it's over, it's over. It's not like Tetris where you could go on and on. It's a fun game because what other game allows you to blow up fireworks into neat patterns of your choice?
While the price is a bit steep for a puzzler like this, it's worth a rent or two. It's like paying for Gradius 3/4. It's really hard to do. Fortunately, most stores are dropping the price on this game AND the used versions should be around ... You can't go wrong on those prices seeing how the majority of 128-bit games are closer to.
This game may be catered to a younger crowd, but it's still fun for all ages. Don't be too critical and remember video games are about having fun. Don't let the others get you down. Renting is always a good option if one is undecided.