Tagged: Nintendo DS

Casual Mania like Violent Passivism; Confusing

The gaming scene today is confused. Like an awkward teen wondering where all this hair is coming from, we’re in this place where kids are discovering games that are older than they are and senior citizens are picking up controllers for the first time in their lives. Easy mode is still hard. Your aunt is beating you at Farmville. Co-workers are sending you Game Room challenges. And something “casual” can still get cRaZee!

Really, that’s all I’m trying to point out here; Casual Mania seems like a perfectly insane name for a game. It’s innocent and inoffensive but ~WATCH OUT~ cause this DS cart comes packed with 4 laser-hot casual ga– wait, only four?! Looking pretty tame even by Facebook standards, Casual Mania features clones of the most popular play styles; Match Three, Hidden Object, Time Management and whatever you call Zuma with an overarching jigsaw puzzle that reveals pretty pictures as you play.

I guess it’s not a bad idea — copy the top sellers and put them all together in one package — and as we’ve seen time and again, it’s impossible to predict what will be the next “evergreen” top seller on a Nintendo platform. For anyone intrigued by the contradictory title, Casual Mania has just been rated by the ESRB and should be available within the next few months here in the U.S.

Done Playing: Infinite Space (Nintendo DS)

So much potential, wasted!

My interest in Infinite Space started all the way back in the dark ages of E3 2008. That’s twenty-zero-EIGHT, almost two years ago, that I first saw concept art from the game and couldn’t get it out of my mind. Back then it was known as Infinite Line and pretty much ever since all I could think about was scouring the depths of space for Tetris-like chunks to bolt onto my spaceship. Seriously, this post I made in September ’08 was pretty much the first and last time I saw the game until this past week when I finally got to play the full retail release.

The anime intro video was a nice touch that I haven’t seen since Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and the combination of 2D and 3D elements throughout the game helps it stand apart from about 90% of the games on the DS at this point. I was also pretty fond of the ship management system where you first have to:

  • Find or unlock access to ship blueprints
  • Come up with the money or resources to have a shipyard build it
  • Assign a party member as Captain

Once your new ships are operational you can find or buy new parts that come in little colored Tetris-like pieces that augment their abilities. Red chunks effect weapon stats and effects, yellow add secondary abilities for your crew, and so on. The catch being that these pieces must fit within a gridded silhouette of your ship and are most effective when you put a colored chunk in its matching highlighted area. I love the interior design aspect of it but suffering through a JRPG just for combat that’s slow and too Rock/Paper/Scissors-y wasn’t worth it.

A missing sister, a sassy Han Solo-type mentor, and a mysterious kid that an entire planet is trying to keep from going into outer space didn’t bode well right from the start and it didn’t take long before I was shutting the game down for good. It’s really sad because I’ve spent years waiting to finally play it only to wind up enjoying one-third of its design. Maybe I should just stick with Captain Forever for my interstellar, colored-block, ship building kicks.

P.S. I talk a bit more about the actual combat gameplay on this podcast if this post has you intrigued for more.

Alice in Wonderland on DS puts another spin on the classic story

What’s with all this DS news? A fluke, I’m sure, as this one is really only interesting for its radical interpretation of the already-radical interpretation of the original Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Admitting that there’s no way for the DS to match the visual madness of the upcoming film’s style, Disney and developer Etranges Bibellules have given the story another visual makeover turning it into a kind of Raving Rabbids-esque anime amalgamation. The game itself looks like like it might play like Out of This World or, maybe more appropriately, Abe’s Oddyssey. That is to say, I’m not too interested but the artwork looks awesome!

In related news, it turns out Etranges Bibellules is the same French developer that created the insanity that is Asterix & Obelix XXL2: Mission Las Vegum that sees the beloved Gauls parodying almost every game ever made. Seriously, it’s nuts, check out the video on their site. My hunt for this game (and a way to play it) has been reignited!!

Awatama blows onto Japanese shelves at long last


I was browsing through some Japanese DS releases this morning and saw a peculiar game named Awatama. Turns out it’s the translated title of one of my favorite DS games, Soul Bubbles, now renamed and chibi-fied for Japan. I wasn’t too crazy about the look of the English version’s main character but I’m surprisingly at odds with the change. Sure, he looked like a balding nymph elf with a big face but now he (she?) just looks like any other ol’ manga/anime character.