Well, as if the landslide of WiiWare information from Wednesday’s media summit wasn’t enough, we now have summaries of the DSiWare titles on show. And while the selection on Nintendo's portable machine may not have been as high profile as its console counterpart, the DSi still had a lot to shout about.
Being showcased at the media summit were the following titles: Flight Control, Bomberman Blitz, Reflection, Castle of Magic, Combat of Giants: Dragons – Bronze Edition, Pop Island, 6 in 1 Dictionary + Camera, Flipnote Studio, A Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition and A Little Bit of Brain Training: Maths Edition
Going through these one by one:
Funnily enough, this one reminded us exactly of the metrics tests you get at some interview; in fact, we’re sure this one has been at a job interview! Job applications asides, Flight Control is a solid yet simple game with an easy to grasp premise. On the bottom screen is a top-down view of an airfield/land strip/battleship; your objective is to guide (by means of the touchscreen) planes and helicopters on a path towards their respective landing areas, whilst avoiding mid-air collisions. Using the touchscreen here is very easy, and you'll soon get into the natural flow of the game - although mastering the flight paths is quite the tricky activity as the frequency of planes arriving is ever on the increase. Addictive as the iPhone game that spawned it, Flight Control looks to be on course for a safe journey into the charts; ideal for small bursts of fun.
Ah, Bomberman; you lovable explosive expert – where would we be without your golden pedigree? This is where the DSiWare service can truly start to get some momentum going. Bomberman is faithful to its roots here; although with players being able to transverse both the top and bottom screen in 8-player battle, this one is going to be even more chaotic. From what we played of this, there’s really not much bad that can be said; the whole experience is fun and it will most likely be an essential buy. We're looking forwards to exhausting our thumbs on this title. Let’s hope this is the precursor for a stronger series of DSiWare releases!
An interesting story, this one: a group of students created this title for their academic course and it was subsequently picked up by Konami; but what’s more interesting is the nature of the gameplay. The name Reflections gives a bit of a hint: you have two characters – one on the top screen, one on the bottom; when you move one, the other moves too; and you must navigate puzzles simultaneously on both screens in order to make it to the end of each level - If one character has an obstacle in their way, the other cannot progress. Playing this game was a real pleasure; it was taxing, challenging and had variety in the puzzles on offer . While it may not look altogether too crisp, and lacks a certain feel of polish, the mechanics of it more than make up the difference. This looks like a solid game that could find a home on many people’s DSis, especially those liking a taxing puzzle. We were quite impressed by this one, and are looking forward to its release.
Castle of Magic
This is another iPhone creation making its way onto the DSi – and not a too shabby title, either. This platformer plays well and is certainly very colourful. Spanning both to the console's screen, the game imbues all the classic elements expected from the genre, with a few magic spells thrown into the mix. The feature of taking photos with the DSi's camera to chose the colour of magic (nothing to do with David Jason) is interesting - still not sure just how engaging it makes the game; it can be a bit disruptive and vexing searching for something to get a picture of when you go in photo-booth mode. Maybe you'll have to make sure that you're always wearing colours representing each of the magic elements? From our hands on with it, Castle of Magic looks to be in strong shape for DSiWare release. Let's hope the final product keeps us hooked.
Combat of Giants: Dragons – Bronze Edition
Successor to the popular Combat Dinosaurs game, Combat of Giants: Dragons is all about Dragons (we're pretty observant here!) Using the stylus as the means of controls, you start levels in exploration mode, where you use your fierce and fiery friend to search the area for gems before tracking down the evil dragons and taking them down. Battles consist of the player moving their dragon around on its fighting area, with the different possible positions determining what move can be used and the stylus movement determining whether you'll attack or defend. When it comes to special moves you get to use the stylus to connect dots on the screen (or rub out those of your opponent's) which determine how powerful the move is - a sort of subset of quicktime events. The build we played on was hosted on a heavily-used machine, and as a result was slightly unresponsive, so we'll hold judgement on how this one truly plays until we get hold of a copy of our own. Still, we can see this
We got told off when playing this one, because we got so into the action that we forgot to listen to what the developer was telling us (apologies Olivier!) Set in one of 8 richly colourful planets named after those of our solar system, the game sees you compete in one of two teams of animals in an almighty game of capture the flag. Up to 8 players can share in this experience... off of one copy of the game. The action is frantic, fun and a good laugh if you've got the right company to play with. Players have the option to choose from one of three types of animal: land, sea and air; each of these having their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Every creature is able to fire projectiles that momentarily put the target out of action (essential for nabbing the flags off others), and each team has a base in which to return the flag to. With up to 32 creatures playing at any one time, Pop Island sure is some quick and chaotic fun - just what the service needs.
Well, this one's been out a while now, but we love it here at Nintendo Life. On hand at the event was a professional illustrator, who put the hideous jack-in-a-box animation we made to shame (trust us; it was horrendous) with anime-style clips. The real treat of the day with Flipnote Studio though was Aardman Studio's first of twelve mini-clips created in Flipnote Studio - the Sandwich Twins:
6 in 1 Dictionary + Camera
There can is a reason to have an application of translation on DSi, but the difficulty is qu' it is difficult to find the qu' uses; once you start to enter the long ones and complex sentences; there's no substitute product to really know the language when it comes to l' to interpret. (There may be a case for having a translation application on the DSi, but the trouble is that the uses are hard to find once you start getting into long and complex sentences; there's no substitute for actually knowing the language when it comes to interpreting it). Still, with the ability to see the translations of one word in many languages, and being able to take photos of words to translate, the 6 in 1 Dictionary may be a handy compliment for tourists or those needing a basic grasp of another language. The languages covered here are English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Like with Flipnote, this wasn't a new one to us, and we've already reviewed 6 in 1 Dictionary, judging it to be comme ci, comme ça.
A Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition and A Little Bit of Brain Training: Maths Edition
Well, these two were covered in the speech by Nintendo - we didn't actually get our mucky paws on the titles. In his speech, though, Laurent Fischer told us how Nintendo are making these Brain Training games much more specific, as they feel it caters well to people wanting to train up specific areas of their brain. We can't see the series deviating much from the norm here, so expect the usual stuff from the Dr.
Well, while not as jam-packed as the mighty WiiWare showcasing, the DSi still managed to show a few potential gems with a couple of solid-looking iPhone conversions; a colourful and fun game represented in Pop Island; another game in the popular Combat series; and a highly appealing puzzle/platformer title in the form of Reflections. Oh, and, of course, Bomberman Blitz!
As always, stick with us for further news.