Can you make all the pieces fit? I sure hope so!
To Beat: Complete any round
To Complete: Win a round on the highest difficulty against the computer
What I Did: Completed the game
My Difficulty: 1/10
As discussed here on this blog before, there were many companies that wanted to get a piece of the NES pie, including popular toy maker Fisher-Price. Developed for kids, Fisher-Price: Perfect Fit was just the game I needed to check off the list as I have been waiting to balance out all that time spent on mastering Ikari Warriors. Contrary to the title, this game isn’t exactly a good fit for the current NES collector or player unless you want to feel that satisfaction of completing any old NES game.
Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, his wife Margaret Evans Price, and Helen Schelle. They originally made wooden toys but eventually switched to plastic in the 1950s which helped the company continue to grow. The Quaker Oats company bought Fisher-Price in 1969 after Herman Fisher retired. Fisher-Price became an independent company once more in 1991 and was bought in 1993 by Mattel.
In addition to their toy lines, there were a number of PC games bearing the company name. Three of these games were ported to the NES: Perfect Fit, I Can Remember, and Firehouse Rescue. The earliest release of these three was Firehouse Rescue but it turned out to be the last of the NES ports so I will be covering that one last. These three games appear to be the only console releases of any Fisher-Price video game. The early Fisher-Price games are all published by GameTek, and Perfect Fit on NES was developed by Beam Software. This was a US exclusive title.
Perfect Fit is a game meant for young children, so the controls and rules are quite simple. The object of the game is to match up pieces with their places on the puzzle. These pieces can be letters, numbers, toys, and other objects like that. One at a time, these pieces will drop down a chute on the left side of the screen. On the puzzle there will be silhouettes of these objects. You have to move the current piece on top of the matching shadow and press A to put the piece down. Get it right and the next piece will come down, but if you get it wrong you will hear a buzz and you get to try again with no further penalty. Place all the pieces correctly and you win! There are three puzzle boards to solve and you win the game when you complete all three.
There are three difficulty levels. Level One has few pieces to solve so this mode is great for a first time young player. Level Two introduces a flip mechanic. In this mode there are two fields below the chute labelled “Flip Image” with arrows. One field is for flipping the piece horizontally and the other is for vertical flips. If you need to flip the piece to get it to match up, simply place the piece over the appropriate field and press A to flip the piece in the direction indicated by the arrow. This difficulty also introduces a time limit and scoring. In Level Two you get six minutes to finish all the three puzzles and for every second left at the end of the game you are awarded 10 points. Difficulty Level Three is the same as Level Two but with a stricter time limit of three minutes and 20 points awarded for each remaining second at the end.
This game has a two player mode where players take turns solving their own puzzles and compete for the higher score in the scoring modes. Before starting the game you get to enter your name for display on the level start screen and high score screen. There is also a single player mode versus the computer. The CPU opponent is named Electro. Ultimately this gives no advantage when playing. It’s mildly interesting watching the AI bumble through piece placement. I found while playing that the AI always attempts to place the piece in the correct spot but does not know which way to properly flip the piece, so it will alternate between horizontal flips and vertical flips and test each time to see if the piece actually fits. Despite the slow going it seems to be able to solve all the puzzles in time.
One minor oddity about the scoring system is that the way to get the best scores is through Level Two difficulty. There is a maximum score and points are essentially lost the longer the game goes on. That maximum score is the same for Levels Two and Three but the point loss is twice as fast in Level Three as it is in Level Two. The high score chart is shared between these difficulty levels. I suppose if the game designers really cared about scoring then there would be some kind of point bonus just for playing on the harder level.
This was my first time playing Perfect Fit and there’s a pretty good chance that it will also be my last time playing the game. While playing I completed all difficulty settings both alone and with the CPU player. It was overkill even though the game didn’t take too long. I also played with my daughter in the room to see how interested she would be in the game. She is not quite two years old yet so she’s not really ready for the game yet. She does enjoy holding the controller and pressing buttons for a few minutes, and she also knew what each of the letter and number pieces were. I think the graphics may be a bit too primitive for her to recognize any of the other pieces when I asked her what they were.
There’s really not much else to say about Perfect Fit. It plays well but doesn’t do much to hold your attention. Kids today have much better options for introductory gaming. The only thing perfect about it is that is it a very easy game to clear for the sake of an NES completion project like this one. Perhaps there’s a benefit here for easing a child into using a game controller if he or she is interested in playing NES games. Otherwise there’s really no reason to play Perfect Fit.
I played through Perfect Fit on my NES top loader and not long after that I received my AVS console. Aside from a few exceptions like Zapper and R.O.B. games, going forward I will be playing everything else with my AVS. I also have started capturing footage starting with the next game so there are gameplay videos coming soon. I didn’t make one for Perfect Fit but I don’t think it’s a big loss!