April 14th, 2010
Meteos is a neat match-three puzzle game for the DS which involves dragging blocks vertically to match with same coloured blocks, either horizontally or vertically, which sends them flying past the top of the screen to a neighbouring planet. A stream of blocks continuously rain over you (hence the name Meteos, ie meteors) until you’ve lodged enough blocks into outter space to blow up the respective planet. There’s a bizarro narrative linking all this craziness together, but don’t dare ask me about it.
Meteos‘ simple match-three mechanics is lengthened out into a full game with stages that vary up the gravity of the skywards-moving blocks and, as referred to in the Lumines series, skins for the various stages. These alterations have no bearing on the core mechanic, and, as such, Meteos‘ sole asset feels stretched beyond its scope. Sora Ltd attempts to flesh Meteos out with a ridiculous story and locked bonus content, however, these additions, much like the changing skins and minor physics changes are artificial at best. New stages, bonuses and other extras are just distractions which impede the experience more than enhance, particularly when the block designs animate and become incongruous with each other.
I got many good hours of gameplay out of Meteos‘ enjoyable match-three mechanic alone, which suggests that the self-sufficient gameplay is better suited to a downloadable format with an infinite mode and clear block designs. This is an awesome game with frivolous additions to meet the retail release.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
How can one not enjoy the unashamedly bombastic nature of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat? It’s a game that I haven’t the energy to finish over a regular duration, so I’ve decidedly been hitting the bongos every couple of months for the past few years now. Not quite a ritual, just something worth pulling out on occasion.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is one of those games where the visual presentation matches the gameplay really well. Gameplay is a patchwork quilt of set piece 2D platforming concepts (riding animals, using the parachute and fans, the boss battles) stitched together around the surprisingly excellent bongo-based platforming. The standard platforming constitutes the majority of gameplay, as does the environmental/elemental-based theme within the visual presentation. As frequently as DK switches to a new mode of play, does the visual style pertain some sort of individualistic flair (which may not adhere to the rest of the style guide). Detailed textures and neat technical effects are mashed in amongst plain textures and simple modeling. The gameplay is as diverse as the visual showcase, consolidating the game’s irreverent style.
As a brief conclusion, the fact that Nintendo can create a supremely enjoyable platformer with two buttons and a clap technique is a testament to their ingenuity.
Final Fantasy: Rings of Fate
In contrast to how I usually comment on games, I haven’t didn’t play Rings of Fate for very long and am already writing about it. After an hour or so of playing (and confirming impressions with my brother who completed this game years ago) I decided that it wasn’t worth my time to play Rings of Fate. It’s simply hack and slash filler, that’s all. From the onset, Rings of Fate seems like a great kids game, but the story is so condescending and the voice acting so ear piercingly awful that I was forced to preemptively give up. Players loathe games which make them feel stupid and adore games which make them feel intelligent, and this was a game that looked down on me, so I have no sympathy for it and neither should the children.