Friday, September 11, 2009

SPC Quickies - Volume Three: DS Blockbuster

If you recall, an affiliate and friend of ours, One Duck's Opinion, wrote up an exhaustive list of reviews of fifty-five of his DS games. Since my older brother is slouching on his next review, I'll be taking this opportunity to do the same except with my collection of DS games-- at least the ones I've played. Some of the games listed already have reviews to them. I will be glancing over them anyway. Like traditional quickies, I'll be rating these games from 0-5. I don't know if you can hear it, but I'm cracking my knuckles right now to get ready for this.

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin - War has changed. It's much darker, bleaker, but still full of adolescent commanding officers. Would you go to die for a sixteen year old? I digress. For the first time ever, you can hop online and battle friends and foes from across the globe with Wi-Fi warfare. With new units, a content-heavy single-player campaign, and online play, Days of Ruin is definitely one to recommend. 4/5

Advance Wars: Dual Strike - Andy, Max, Sami, and the gang are back with the very first Advance Wars game to hit the DS. Dual Strike takes its name from the one-two punch of CO powers that can be unleashed on your unsuspecting opponents. You can easily wipe out any resistance with these powers. Perhaps they're a bit overpowered, but it makes otherwise impossible battles all the more winnable. 4/5

Animal Crossing: Wild World - There's so much to do on the planet of Wild World. Befriend neighbors, do chores, furnish your house, pay off your debt to a weasel-y raccoon (yeah, right), collect new furniture and items, collect bugs, fish, gather seashells, create patterns for your clothes, and hop online and visit your friends. Animal Crossing had tons to do, and Wild World adds even more to the mix. Highly recommended. 5/5

Bomberman Land Touch! - An adventure full of mini-games to complete and tasks to do, Bomberman Land Touch! isn't your typical Bomberman. Sure, there's the classic Bomberman mode that you can play online that is separate from the single-player adventure, but the focus with Bombeman Land is all mini-games. Your mileage may vary. 3/5

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow - My first ever Castlevania game, so I hold it near and dear to my heart. You gained souls from enemies and bosses. These souls granted you new powers to access new areas of the main castle. Bosses were memorable, many taking up most of the screen. The soundtrack is one of the series' best as well. 5/5

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - Easily the most forgettable game in the DS Castlevania trilogy, Portrait of Ruin gets its name from the many portraits you enter into new worlds and lands. The zombie-bashing, skeleton-slashing gameplay is present and accounted for, and the game is an entertaining romp for any fan of the genre. 4/5

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia - I was supposed to write up a detailed review of this game, but I never managed to find the will to do so. Regardless, Order of Ecclesia is your standard Metroidvania fare. This time around, however, the world map is much more segmented and broken up into areas. If you like Castlevania, you'll love this more challenging game. 4/5

Chrono Trigger - I have never played the original Super Nintendo version of Chrono Trigger, so the DS remake was an entirely new beast for me. Featuring an entertaining battle system, time travel, and Yasunori Matsuda's magnum opus soundtrack, Chrono Trigger is a true winner for any RPG fan. 5/5

Clubhouse Games - Thirty-two classic parlor games, Clubhouse Games is packed with content. Don't like word games? Maybe the card games will be more down your alley. You can play online with up to five other friends, draw notes to one another, and have loads of fun. A great single-player and multi-player game for anyone, young and old. 4/5

Contra 4 - My butt is sore from Contra 4 continually kicking it. I no longer have a name because Contra 4 took it. Yes, it kicked my ass and took my name. This game is a Contra fan's explosive wet dream with two classic Contra games included, a balls-to-the-wall difficult challenge mode, and nine levels of increasingly grueling fun. Not for all, not for me. I'll stick with the easy games. 3/5

CrossworDS - Like crossword puzzles? Like word searches? Like anagrams? Then you'll love CrossworDS. It has hundreds of puzzles that will last you months. It's the perfect pick-up-and-play game. Definitely worth the twenty bucks. 4/5

Custom Robo Arena - I love robots, I love fighting, so this should have been a match-made in heaven. Too bad that the story is so juvenile and boring that it made playing through it nearly impossible. I couldn't complete it-- even with the cool robots and online play. 3/5

Diddy Kong Racing DS - This game is a good sign of what is wrong with today's Rare. They botched a perfectly good game. Blowing into the mic to start up your hovercraft at the beginning of a race? Seriously? Seriously??? 2/5

DK Jungle Climber - You can keep your wishes of Donkey Kong Country 4 because the DK King of Swing series is as close as you're going to get to it. The game used L and R to climb walls, bashing baddies, and collecting all sorts of goodies. This is a really cool game that can get quite challenging later on, too! 4/5

Dragon Ball Origins - I'm not a fan of the Dragon Ball series or any of its spin-offs. That's okay though because somehow I still enjoy the games. Dragon Ball Origins is no exception to this statement. Featuring stylus-based controls in conjunction with the d-pad, Origins is a fun little adventure that looks great, takes players up to the first Martial Arts Tournament, and oozes with humor. Check this one out. You won't be disappointed. 4/5

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime - This adventure might be short at less than ten hours to complete, but it's a fun ride while it lasts. Rocket has to rescue his fellow Boingburg denizens from the clutches of the Plob! On the way he'll take part in tank battles which many folks are addicted to. Will you be one of them? 4/5

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker - When you combine Pokemon style capturing and collecting with the world of Dragon Quest, you get Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, a game permeating with content. The single-player mode can last upwards of thirty-to-forty hours as you go after and try to collect all of the over 200 monsters. Then you can take your monsters online and battle with friends or strangers via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. 4/5

Elebits: The Adventures of Kai & Zero - This Elebits game is nothing like the Wii original. Sure, you still suck up Elebits by tapping at them with the stylus, but now it's an adventure game more akin to Zelda than Elebits. The story is pretty poor, but the gameplay is rewarding enough to keep players coming back for more. 3/5

Elite Beat Agents - A rhythm-based game featuring a trio of funkadelic agents, Elite Beat Agents may turn some people off with some of the song choices. Avril Lavenge? (Who really cares enough about her to get the spelling right.) Get that $@$# out of here. Touch, tap, and slide the stylus around the screen in time with the music for a high score. Fun, but I couldn't stay with it long enough to beat it. 3/5

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time - Echoes of Time is the indirect sequel to Ring of Fates showcasing online play for up to four players. The action-RPG aspect of the game is still here as is the dungeon-crawling. The 3D visuals are quite pleasing to the eye as well. 4/5

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates - Ring of Fates is an action-RPG with a lot of heart. The story isn't going to win any awards, but the gameplay is fun and easy enough for anyone to get into. Between this and Echoes of Time, however, Echoes of Time is the better game. 4/5

Final Fantasy III - A game stuck in the early nineties, Final Fantasy III is as old-school as it gets. A lack of being able to save anywhere, and the brutal difficulty made this fantasy one I could pass over quite easily. It's still a competent game, but it's definitely not for everyone. 3/5

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales - Like Bomberman Land Touch!, this is a mini-game compilation under the guise of an adventure. Play multiple mini-games each with a fairy tale theme and each with familiar monsters and music from the Final Fantasy franchise. You can take on people online in two player card battles. Overall, a charming little game worthy of a look at the very least. 3/5

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars - I must be getting burnt out on these types of games. I couldn't play more than a couple of hours before being bored. The drive here, shoot these people up, move here gameplay just doesn't do it for me anymore. I will congratulate Rockstar on trying to make the series work on the DS. 3/5

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure - By jolly! Meet Henry Hatsworth. He's looking for pieces of a legendary golden suit. Part platformer, part puzzler, you're constantly switching between leaping across chasms on the top screen and taking part in Panel de Pon-styled puzzles on the bottom screen. The game's rather challenging, too, so get ready to be frustrated at certain parts! 4/5

Kirby Canvas Curse - One of the earliest DS games, Kirby Canvas Curse came out the June after the DS released. It was right in the middle of a drought, something that the DS would not see ever again to this day. The game is played by drawing lines that Kirby follows. This highly intuitive, highly entertaining game is still one of the best uses of the DS. 5/5

Kirby Squeak Squad - There's not much that can be said about this Kirby adventure. It's rather generic, lackluster, and just uninspired. It's a breeze to play through with the only longevity coming from finding hidden treasure chests in the various worlds. Not Kirby's best entry, but it's a playable one nonetheless. 2/5

Kirby Super Star Ultra - Kirby Super Star Ultra is a remake of Kirby Super Star, a collection of mini-games and adventures including the Metroid-styled Great Cave Offensive, Meta Knight's Revenge, and many more. While Squeak Squad felt uninspired, Ultra makes up for that in spades with a wonderful collection of Kirby cuteness. 4/5

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - Link hits the DS with a stylus-controlled journey on and off the seas. The controls worked great, but the big problem with the game was constantly returning to the Temple of the Ocean King after every dungeon, trudging through the same rooms over and over again. Not my cup of tea, but the rest of the game was terrific. 4/5

Lunar Knights - Kojima Productions does something different-- they make a game that is more gameplay than cutscenes! Wow! This Boktai sequel features an isometric view in dungeons with hack and slack/hack and shoot gameplay that just didn't click with me. It was repetitive, and the story was laughable (as is usual with something from Kojima) at best. 2/5

Magical Starsign - A real paint-by-numbers RPG, Magical Starsign doesn't really do much to make itself stand out from the many much better RPGs on the system. If you're a fan of Brownie Brown (all three of you), then you'll probably love this game. 2/5

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - I'm very excited for next week as Bowser's Inside Story comes out. The second of the Mario & Luigi trilogy, Partners in Time, featured a time travel mechanic, bosses that took forever to kill, and a disconnected world. What the game did right was be entertaining through and through with its fun gameplay and trademark humor. 4/5

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 - It was about time Mario and crew hit the hard-court and play a little basketball. Developed by Square-Enix of all people, 3-on-3 is oftentimes Mario Hoops 1-on-3. Your computer teammates just stand there, never helping out making games very infuriating and cheap. The game, however, is a good looker with a great soundtrack. It's just not that good of a game. 2/5

Mario Kart DS - One of the most complete Mario Kart experiences, Mario Kart DS features 32 races, sixteen old, sixteen new, a mission mode, online play, an emblem maker, and twelve different racers with multiple karts. There is no better Mario Kart game. Mario Kart DS is it. 5/5

Mario Party DS - Party hardy, Marty! Mario Party hits portables in a traditional game. Five boards, eight characters, and a myriad of cool mini-games that make use of the DS's hardware. What's the icing on this cake is that you can play all of the boards and mini-games with only one game card. No need for your buddies to buy the game for them to play it with you. I wish more DS games were like this! 4/5

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis - The original Mario vs. Donkey Kong put you in control of Mario as he jumped and hopped his way through levels straight out from the classic Donkey Kong games. The sequel puts you in control of the Mini Marios as the goal to get them to the goal without destroying any of them. The single-player will last you five hours or so while the ability to create your own puzzles and place them online puts the replay value up considerably. 3/5

Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team DS - Two Battle Network games rolled into one package, Double Team DS features both versions of Mega Man Battle Network 5. Little has been done to the tired and true formula of past Mega Man Battle Network games. If you've played one already, you probably have seen most of what Double Team DS has to offer. 3/5

Mega Man ZX - A more Metroid-styled Mega Man game, Mega Man ZX features one of the worst map systems I've ever come across. It makes trekking anywhere a considerable pain in the rear. The action of the game is what you'd expect from Mega Man, and here, Mega Man ZX does not disappoint. Just don't rely on the map. 3/5

Mega Man ZX Advent - In Mega Man ZX Advent, each boss you defeated would give you the ability to transform into them to access previously unreachable areas. The map system has been improved, the game is more enjoyable, and there's plenty of content to keep you blasting away for hours. 4/5

Metroid Prime Hunters - What do you get when you take Samus Aran and combine it with deathmatch-style gameplay? You get Metroid Prime Hunters. I personally couldn't get a grip of the touch-screen controls, so I used good old analog. The single-player was quite good if not more linear than usual, and the multi-player was just pure bliss if you played with friends. There's too many hackers online to make the game fun with strangers. 4/5

Metroid Prime Pinball - What do you get when you take Samus Aran and combine it with pinball? You get Metroid Prime Pinball. The game had multiple boards with different little gimmicks on each of them. I'm usually not good or patient with pinball, but Metroid Prime Pinball is one of my favorites of the genre. Somehow Metroid Prime Pinball worked taking Samus and keeping her in her morph ball for most of the time. 4/5

Nanostray - Nanostray is a top-down shmup that rivals Contra 4 in difficulty that is from the same game that made Iridion for the Game Boy Advance. The 3D visuals are extremely impressive, and while the game doesn't feature much in the way of bullet hell, it can be frustrating at times. 4/5

Nanostray 2 - Taking the successful formula of the original and improving on it, Nanostray 2 showcases new perspectives instead of just top-down levels. There's new side-scrolling levels featuring the same awesome graphics and bosses that made the first game so fun. 4/5

New Super Mario Bros. - I'll probably be writing a more-detailed review of this game in anticipation of the Wii installment. I really enjoy this game as it's a challenging Mario game-- if you go after the three gold coins per level, that is. I didn't like how two of the worlds were completely optional, and that some hidden areas required some of the less interesting power-ups. Other than, New Super Mario Bros. is a fantastic platformer. 5/5

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword - Slash, slice, dice, and strike your enemies with the stylus. When playing, you hold the DS on its side like a book. You use the stylus to attack enemies and move around and you use any button to shield yourself. Another game that can kick your butt in an instant, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is an incredible effort on the DS. 4/5

Nintendogs - Take care of your dog, cater to its needs, play with it, take it on walks, enter it in competitions, and much more in Nintendogs. One of the more addictive features of the game is the sheer amount of goodies you can put on your dog from Mario and Luigi hats to new dog collars. The multimillion seller may not last you that long, but the ride is indeed a fun one. 4/5

Planet Puzzle League
- It's Tetris Attack with a futuristic flair. Planet Puzzle League is yet another Nintendo property that hit the DS with online play. What isn't there in personality (no Yoshi, for example), the game offers in unique modes and hours upon hours of addicting gameplay. 4/5

Pokemon Diamond - Gotta catch 'em all all over again! The DS installment of the Pokemon franchise along with Pokemon Pearl, the game trumpets better visuals and online play. Those burnt out from the Pokemon franchise won't be getting into this game any time soon, but for the rest of us, there's so many Pokemon to capture and collect that we'll be playing til sunrise. 4/5

Professor Layton and the Curious Village - Professor Layton is a series of brain twisters all loosely connected by an overlaying story. With over 100 puzzles to solve, many of which are just clever beyond words, Professor Layton is a game that shouldn't be passed up. 4/5

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box - Taking the same formula from the Curious Village, the Diabolical Box features more locales, more puzzles, and more content to take in. Both Curious Village and Diabolical Box are worth getting. I remember letting my mom play one of the games, and she's no gamer at all. She very much enjoyed her time with Professor Layton. 4/5

Resident Evil: Deadly Silence - Deadly Silence always reminds of farts being silent and deadly. Take that as you will. Deadly Silence is a remake of the original Resident Evil for the original Playstation. It featured some touch controls, but it was mainly the same game. Dated graphics and dated gameplay, but it still holds up well in most aspects. Those like me who never played the original got the most out of the game. 3/5

Soul Bubbles - An innovative game, Soul Bubbles has you guiding bubbles filled with souls across various game levels and worlds. The game isn't overly challenging, so it makes for a perfect game to sit back and relax to. What it lacks in difficulty it makes up for in sheer inventiveness. 3/5

Sonic Rush - Sonic speeds onto the DS with a worthwhile game full of fast fun and platforming peril. One gripe I do have is that the game uses way too many bottomless pits, something that the next game will rectify. Besides that, armed with an awesome soundtrack and impressive visuals, Sonic Rush is a great game for those wanting to forget those 3D Sonic games... 4/5

Sonic Rush Adventure - Add one obnoxious new friend for Sonic in Marine, a disjointed flow of zones, and jet skis, and you get Sonic Rush Adventure. While many of the problems of Sonic Rush were fixed, the decision to force the player to ride to different zones and islands wasn't one I was satisfied with. Still, those who love 2D Sonic and speed will love Sonic Rush Adventure. 4/5

Star Fox Command
- Some people dislike Star Fox Assault. I'm in the camp that dislikes Command. It was part real-time strategy, part dogfighting. The game was just highly repetitive utilizing the same structure for each mission. Shoot all bad guys, fly through rings, destroy mothership #345. 2/5

Super Mario 64 DS
- You take the original Super Mario 64, put it to the DS, add three new playable characters (Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario), add some touch-based mini-games, thirty new stars, and updated graphics, and you have a game that's still one of my favorites. I remember being amazed at the visuals and that a portable could produce them (this was before the PSP, of course). Great game even when just playing with the d-pad. 5/5

Super Princess Peach
- Princess Peach has never been the heroine or star of her own game. Until now. Mario and Luigi have somehow been abducted, and it's up to Peach to rescue them through eight worlds with multiple levels, secrets to be found, and bosses to beat down. The soundtrack is lively, the visuals are colorful, and the game, although easy, is a blast to play. 4/5

Tetris DS - A rare gem on the DS, Tetris DS is now out of production, and it can fetch for a high price on eBay. Unlike Planet Puzzle League, Tetris DS is filled to the brim with personality whether its from Mario or Samus Aran of Metroid fame. There's a ton of different modes and options available including online. If you own this game, hold it to your heart and cherish it. It's a great one! 4/5

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground - Tony Hawk translated quite well to a portable with Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Sure, the character creator was plenty poor, but the actual skating and grinding worked really wonderfully. Online play was just the cherry on top of this great game, one that I enjoyed much more than the console versions. 4/5

The World Ends With You - This action-RPG featured a ton of annoying characters, but thankfully the gameplay saved it. The battles were controlled with the stylus, and each ability used a different method of unleashing it. For instance, drawing a circle would initiate an orb attack. This innovative and highly creative RPG is worth seeking out. 4/5

Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble - The final game in the Viewtiful Joe line of games (thanks for killing it, Capcom), Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble may not have been a technical marvel (only two enemies could be on the screen at once), but it was an entertaining game for the short time I played through it. 3/5

Yoshi's Island DS - A direct sequel to the Super Nintendo's Yoshi Island, the DS version is different in that it features multiple babies with different powers, a much more challenging adventure, and a horrible soundtrack. I really enjoyed this retread on old ground, and those claiming that Nintendo games are too easy should check this one out. 4/5

Yoshi's Touch & Go - This game is something more for an arcade than the DS. The goal is to get as high of a score as possible, drawing lines for Yoshi to walk on and shooting eggs to defeat enemies. One could say this game is a tech demo of the DS's capabilities, but it's an enjoyable little jaunt for sure. 3/5

There you have it. 63 games, 63 Quickies. My thanks to Psychoduck for the inspiration to do this!

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