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First Impressions: Breaking Out With Siesta Fiesta on 3DS

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

We also chat to Stuart Ryall as release details are pinned down

Siesta Fiesta is a title that we've been keen to play here at Nintendo Life, with the title earning a spot in the Spring Edition of our biggest 3DS games of 2014 feature. A title first profiled — seemingly out of nowhere — by the Nintendo of America booth at IndieCade, it promises a great deal with 60fps Breakout-inspired action, but with plenty of individual flair of its own. When a studio states that it's combining the block-breaking genre with ideas from physics puzzle titles, pinball and platformers, you know you're in for an interesting experience.

We've previously published an extensive interview with Mojo Bones, but recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with an advanced build of the title — as we played we also chatted to the studio's Stuart Ryall, who expanded on some of the points covered in that previous interview.

Jumping into the first stage, the initial sensation is of minor sensory confusion, as our childhood full of simple arena-based block-breaking games was immediately disregarded courtesy of a steady — yet nevertheless relentless — scroll from left to right. Our early efforts primarily involved trying to keep out paddle (actually a bed) relatively central, before we then started to worry about tackling the blocks above. The pacing felt just right, in that we had the perception of being rushed along while — in actual fact — there's plenty of time on offer. A point made on multiple occasions by Ryall is that, even with quite a lot of content that stretches beyond 50 levels, motivating the player to replay levels seeking better medals is key. In our early runs we were rather stuck between bronze and silver rewards, with Gold being a rather 'hardcore' standard — like the genres from which it takes inspiration, however, it's easy to see how practice and familiarity will shake up the experience and prompt dedicated players to chase top scores.

To the developer's credit, it's given players every opportunity to master the mechanics. First up, Siesta Fiesta delivers on the promise of rock-solid 60fps performance, even with 3D enabled. The stereoscopic effect is subtle, pushing into the screen with just the occasional example of scenery in front of the bed, and does add an extra dose of flair to some fairly impressive visuals; 2D may be the desired option for those interested in chasing gold medals and wanting to focus on nothing but the action, but when experiencing the game first-time or simply as a fun diversion, the effect is welcome. Whichever option is chosen, the clean, crisp graphical style is appealing, and considering some of the shoddy efforts we see on the portable system it's a relief to play a game that proves, for those that have doubts, that the 3DS is capable of attractive visuals with above-par performance.

Controls worked nicely in our time with this title, too; with all meaningful action on the top screen, using the stylus on the bottom screen provides the best option for the quick, occasionally lightening fast, reactions that are required — anyone who's tackled Kid Icarus: Uprising will be familiar with focusing on the top screen while working the stylus to control the action. In a neat touch, physical control options are also on by default, so you can choose one over the other or actually combine the two. The Circle Pad is unable to match the stylus for paddle control, though the boost — in which you bounce the ball higher — can be controlled with a timed tap or a button. For the sake of simplicity we used the stylus exclusively, yet there's potential to combine stylus and button presses for greater precision.

We played a decent selection of levels, meanwhile, which are split into themed worlds — once again inspired by that old platformer principle, we were assured that even in these worlds environments would be varied and keep the player interested. In addition to some stylish backdrops, each area we sampled also threw up new mechanics. Blocks formed from water are simply passed through, switches enable others, there are explosive targets that set off chain reactions, and more besides. Our flirtations with combos were limited due to our own painfully mediocre execution, yet as time wore on we did feel a natural familiarity begin to take hold — initial uncertainly gradually replaced by instinctive semi-success. Even if we were still mastering the specific mechanics, we began to naturally think tactically, vital in some areas where avoiding deadly blocks is as important as hitting others.

In our time with the title we also played through a couple of boss encounters, another shake-up to the core sources of inspiration. The first world boss was a simple concept, a continuation of the initial gameplay. The second from a later world, however, showed us one of the alternative beds / paddles, as it was actually a cannon fired manually — our main job was to catch and aim rather than continually manage the ball. As an indication of how new items and mechanics will diversify the experience, it was a particularly fun stage.

As we've suspected in the past, this feels like a potential sleeper hit for the 3DS eShop. Mojo Bones' experience in the smart device markets — though the team has worked on Game Boy Advance back in the day — seems to be a key strength. This is a title that would feel too lengthy and full on for a phone, yet has a level-by-level intensity that will suit short play sessions. Driving you to hit new high scores for medals is a standard smartphone trick, yet this is still a dedicated gaming device title through and through, with surprising depth beneath its multitude of design influences. It seems to push a lot of the buttons — of slide the stylus, at least — that fit the core requirements of what makes a fun, engaging download title.

Mojo Bones has now confirmed to us that Siesta Fiesta will arrive worldwide on 24th July, priced at £3.99 / €4.49 / $5.99. You can see plenty of footage in the video below, in which the studio's Stuart Ryall also talks about the title in a mini-interview. Please excuse the occasional silly question or lame performance on our part — the game had us somewhat distracted.


Be sure to check out our other hands on features from E3 and the post-E3 event in London:

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User Comments (32)

Dinosaurs

#2

Dinosaurs said:

A release date! And this game will be mine on that date too. Exited to play this download gem!

Stu13

#4

Stu13 said:

Not my usual type of game at all, but this does look quite fun. And at that price I will definitely pick it up to support these guys.

MojoBones

#5

MojoBones said:

Hi guys: Mojo Bones team here. Just checking in to say thanks for the comments and support. If you have any questions feel free to throw them across, either here in the comments section or via info@mojobones.co.uk

We're really looking forward to everyone getting hands-on with Siesta Fiesta!

sinalefa

#6

sinalefa said:

Whoa, never thought I would live to see a release date. Two weeks and during a long weekend where I live. Great timing! Day 1 of course.

TheRealThanos

#7

TheRealThanos said:

Seems like a fun game and the concept of adding continuous left to right scrolling to a breakout game is an interesting addition. Good price as well so I might just pick this up. Also, kudos on keeping the frame rate at 60fps.

Zach777

#8

Zach777 said:

@MAB

Yeah... With Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright in August, Persona Q and Shantae in September, Smash Bros 3DS in October, Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire in November, Fantasy Life in December, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in early 2015 we really have a bad drought coming, huh, ya dingo? :P

Tops

#10

Tops said:

This game seems so fun and charming! It's definitely on my summer games list!

cyrus_zuo

#12

cyrus_zuo said:

I feel like is would be best on PC.
Looks fantastic, but am not sold on stylus controls for this type of game.
May still get day one, depending on the reviews and comments from players.

ChemyNoSurfea

#13

ChemyNoSurfea said:

I told myself I should not add any more funds to my eshop account unless games I've been waiting for were released. This is one of them along with. Citizens of Earth and Azure Striker.

HK-47

#15

HK-47 said:

@MojoBones
Will there be a demo? I'm always hesitant about using touch controls, especially for fast-paced games. But I have to say this looks very interesting, and it might be the type of game that can win people over with a demo, with maybe 3 or so levels.

MojoBones

#16

MojoBones said:

@HK-47 - Hi and thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, we don't have plans to release a demo for Siesta Fiesta.

Worth mentioning - for anyone who has doubts about the controls - that the game was designed from the ground-up for the 3DS touch screen. We only mention this because sometimes it's hard to know if controls have been retro fitted to work with a particular device. This is definitely not the case with Siesta Fiesta. In our humble opinion, the stylus/touch screen combination is the perfect fit for a brick breaker.

Obviously we're a bit biased though :)

TheRealThanos

#17

TheRealThanos said:

@cyrus_zuo If you watched the entire video, you should have heard him mention that it is also possible to use traditional controls, so stylus is not the only way to control the game.

Klimbatize

#18

Klimbatize said:

@Zach777 No, MAB's kind of right. The Wii U's start was so abysmal and the system is so awful, that Nintendo had to move a lot of resources from the far superior 3DS to the Wii U in hopes of saving it. It's not working so far and unfortunately it does affect the 3DS's future.

Zach777

#19

Zach777 said:

@Klimbatize

It is still to early to go out and say that 3DS will have nothing for the next couple years. E3 primarily focused on the Wii U because that was necessary. The lack of 3DS from Nintendo (other than Steam) was, IMO, nothing to freak out over. All in good time, a Nintendo Direct will more than likely highlight 3DS up and coming games.

cyrus_zuo

#20

cyrus_zuo said:

@TheRealThanos From my experience only paddle (pong) controls and mouse work well for Arkanoid games. Analog and d-pads are bad and worse :). I love the look of this game and will likely get it, I just sorta wish it were on PC.

Barbiegurl777

#21

Barbiegurl777 said:

Only $5.99? :) Not bad was expecting this to be higher for some reason. Glad the price is lower lol. :D Will defently pick this game up when it comes out. :D

@MAB

You mean it's been slim picking's for the last 2 years on 3ds. The best year I've seen on the 3ds was 2012 for game line up 2013 & 2014 have been ok/mehh at best in my own opinion.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

Froggievilleus

#26

Froggievilleus said:

This looks awesome. I was wondering if there is any benefit to collecting gold stars besides bragging rights. It may have been covered in the video and I missed it but I am still curious. :)

flowerchild

#27

flowerchild said:

FINALLY! I've been waiting for what seems like forever for this game to be released. Now I'll look forward to the end of this month to go into the eShop to purchase it. The smile on my face is there not only because Siesta Fiesta and I will soon become fast friends, but also because of the wonderful price attached to it. 😄

WitchSugoi

#29

WitchSugoi said:

Already been sold on this game just needed a release date and price. $7 was my magic number so $6 is perfect.

TheRealThanos

#31

TheRealThanos said:

@cyrus_zuo Having once started my gaming life with a Pong console, I can totally get where you're coming from. This is probably why they selected the touch screen; because of it's "looseness" if you get what I'm trying to say. For lack of a better term I should probably rename that to "freedom of movement" of the touchscreen. But the option of the thumb stick doesn't scare me away from this title either since that is also quite loose in it's movement. Maybe games like this should also have the option to remap to L and R as a semi-replacement for a paddle...
All that being said, I'm still quite confident that this title will work out just fine, since by their own admission they didn't add stylus/touch screen controls as an afterthought but have built the game around it to optimize said controls and I don't think that's a standard method of operation so they did take extra care to make it as user friendly as possible. Well, for the price it's offered at, I'll probably pick it up anyway and then I will find out for myself how the controls feel.

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