Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Developer: Starfish
Publisher: UFO Interactive
Release Date: Aug. 6, 2007
Systems: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: Filler DS

0:01 Unexplained anime girls on the menu = awesome.
0:02 One of the selectable characters, Eboshi, is "very calm and cool. She loves strawberries but hates insects." Wow... that's... good to know?
0:03 "Choose a color to capture more pieces. You win when you gain more pieces." Seems simple enough.
0:04 Ah, so apparently you build a chain of pieces by choosing which color you want to absorb into your blob. It sounds confusing, but it's pretty simple, really.
0:05 This may be the first 2D puzzle game I've ever played that had camera problems. The dual screens are used horribly, with one screen showing the computer opponent's view for no good reason. AS the game progressed you can no longer see essential, earlier parts of the playfield. Er, that might be important!
0:07 OK, so I figured out how to scroll the playfield, so nothing is totally hidden, but it's still hard to get around. Also, the action constantly jumps around after I make a move, making it hard to follow. This is some pretty inexcusable interface design here.
0:11 By planning ahead I win my second match by a landslide, 52% - 28%. Apparently you can capture tiles by surrounding them or cornering them with your color. That would have been nice to know the first time 'round, eh?
0:15 A hard fought battle ends in another win, 52% - 47%. It seems the character you select determines what special "star power" you get to use . My character's sucks. I wish I'd known that before I locked her in.
0:20 Hmm, saving up three stars lets me "skip following other party's turn," as the game so eloquently puts it. It's good strategy in any language.
0:24 The computer is a fierce opponent. I lose 50%-49% because these freaking bombs keep getting in my way.
0:26 A ha! Conquering the bombs is a matter of sneaking past their blast radius, so you still have an outpost to take advantage of your advances. Tricky...
0:35 The fifth level changes things up in a race for a specific square rather than for overall territory. The net effect is to make the whole thing a lot simpler and a lot less interesting.
0:39 Note to designers: Don't make the button that skips through the frequent interstitial messages be the same button that chooses my next move. It leads to a lot of frustrating, accidental input. Or, at least give me an undo option, huh?
0:42 Stage six asks me and my computer opponent to capture large "king pieces" by surrounding them with our color. Interesting for a quick change, but I don't see it really increasing the appeal of the ultimately simple strategy.
0:50 So half the time the bombs I hit end up blowing up nearby pieces, and the other half just hit random pieces around the board. Not being able to tell the difference beforehand is very frustrating.
0:55 Finally, after an hour, the last round I play shows some promise. A good back and forth battle for position and control. Too bad it took so long to happen.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? No.
The interface is awful, the strategy is simple, and luck plays way too large a factor.

This review based on a retail copy rented from GameFly.

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