Art Style: CODE (DSiWare)

Game Review

Art Style: CODE Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

An Art Style game based on boring old maths – could it be any good?

If you've been following WiiWare and DSiWare releases closely, you should know all about the Art Style series – loosely based on the Japan-only bit Generations titles for Game Boy Advance (with two of the WiiWare games borne as remakes of these) – the games all feature very simplistic graphics and sound, but offer some fairly deep gameplay. CODE is no exception to this rule!

CODE is all about numbers; the game offers four modes of play revolving around this central theme: Target, Endless, Puzzle, and Versus. All modes are played while holding the DSi on its side and using the stylus – much like the Brain Training series.

In Target mode, you will have a field of play covering both screens. Digital numbers – like those on an alarm clock or VCR – continually scroll in from the left and will come to a halt once they reach the far right of the screen or another number. Your objective is to combine these numbers (horizontally and vertically) and have their total add up to 10, which will clear them from the field. You can select any amount of numbers, as long as they're adjacent to each other and add up to 10 – so a 5 and 5 would work; and a 3, three 2s and a 1 would also work.

When numbers are combined to get a 10, the game will slow down for a few seconds – if you can quickly find a nearby number that can be used with one from the previous 10's sum to create 10 again, you can tap it to create a combo and extend this slowdown slightly, which is quite handy. If both screens ever fill up with numbers completely, then it's game over. In contrast to this, if you can remove a certain amount of numbers before getting overwhelmed, then you will have cleared the stage. These stages become progressively more difficult in Target mode: the first only has 1s and 2s, but the final stage will have every single one-digit number, including 0!

The game's main gimmick is that all of the numbers can be switched with those adjacent to them. Doing this will also flip them over – for example, swapping a 2 in any direction will force it to become a 5! Likewise, a 6 can be turned into a 9 (with two swaps, however). If you move any other number, such as a 3 or 4, they will become non-existent numbers that cannot be used until flipped back into their correct positions. Occasionally a red number will also appear: these can't be flipped, but if you use them to create a 10, all other identical numbers will disappear – this can be a nice way to clear a large amount of the screen.

The next variation of Code is Endless mode, which is very similar to Target mode – the difference being that it isn't divided into stages, and instead, as the name implies, goes on endlessly.

Puzzle mode has a bit of twist, however: there are a total of 27 puzzles, in which you have to clear the screen of every number – you can flip them around and add them up in whichever way you want, just as long as they're all gone at the end! Like Target mode this has progressively difficult levels of play: the first 3 puzzles only have 1s and 2s, the next ones add 3s to the number-crunching mix, and so on.

Finally, there is the VS. mode. If you have a friend who has a DS as well (it doesn't matter what type – even a regular old DS will do!) you can compete head to head in Endless mode to see who's the better mathematician. It's certainly fun to see which of your friends will crack under the pressure of some of the more fiendish number onslaughts!


On paper, maths might seem like a boring idea for a game, but this instalment of the Art Style series has proved the sceptics wrong – it's just as good as Skip's previous efforts. It may be a little hard to get into at first, since you'll need to get used to fast flipping and combining of numbers, but when it clicks you will be entertained for quite a while. Yet another success for the Art Style games!

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (35)



Cthuloops said:

This actually sounds kind of interesting. Dunno if it's up my alley though, seeing as I didn't like any of the other Art Style games to date.



Mopsical said:

Wow, many of the DSiWare launch games are getting high marks. I may have to pick up some more points.



RGVEDA said:

Were all the DSi Launch Titles from Europe and US launched in Japan at the 24th December? Really? o.O



Hardy83 said:

Thank goodness for the Art Style games. If it wasn't for them Nintendo's DLC would suck hardcore save a few super gems.



Objection said:

Good review! I believe I have spotted a typo in the conclusion: "On paper, maths might seem like a boring idea for a game, but this instalment of Art Style series has proved the sceptics wrong" unless it is spelled differently elsewhere like some words.



Drake said:

@ Objection_Blaster: Blame the proofreader, I certainly didn't make that typo



Objection said:

lol of course not. I hope you guys don't mind when I let you know. It's not to be annoying. Also, you don't need to have this game if your friend does for VS?



Nanaki said:

Guilty as charged (again). Looks like the spelling mistake was added into my Mac's dictionary for some reason. Sorry 'bout that -- been a busy day of editing! Really no problem with pointing these things out; we appreciate knowing when mistakes have been made.



Adam said:

Sudoku Tetris?! This sounds really fun, though the way numbers are flipped and become other numbers (or non-numbers) seems confusing. Falling block games are generally fun, as are math puzzles. This seems like a clever hybrid.



Adam said:

I notice little slips like that every now and then, too, but like Blaster, wasn't sure if it would be annoying to point out. If you guys ever need some help with copy editing since there are a lot of articles under one roof now, let me know. I'd be glad to help spread out the work load. I work with writing students and have edited a (super awful) novel once before.



Objection said:

Same here, I'm in my school's newspaper so I do lots of editting so feel free to ask me if you need an editor.



Nanaki said:

Cheers for the heads up guys, it's nice to know we've got vigilant members who are willing to help. I've let the guys know about you offers, in case we ever do bring more people in to bolster our team.



Objection said:

That makes me happy. You guys must be swamped right now with merging the site and the new DSi stuff on top of the usual workload. Many people are aware I've been offering for a while.



Bahamut_ZERO said:

Im saving my last 500 free points for Pop Solo, so I wont be buying this. I really hope it comes out soon.



Kenji510 said:

I was hoping we were gonna get this game too on the DSiware shop but we got the Aquia and thats a really cool game to play... i hope we get this game soon and comes out in the first update in the DSiware!



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Great to hear it did well! I was skeptical at first but this review was a nice re-assurance. Also: Welcome back AlexSays!!



World_1-1 said:

Sounds interesting. I still need to check out CUBELLO and ROTOHEX on the Wii, as I loved ORBIENT. The Art Style games really are a bunch of unique titles.




Good review. I would give a "personal" rating of 8 for this game. I didn't like it at first, but I persisted and it ended up being another superb art style title. I have played all the art style games on wiiware and dsiware so far and they are all great. Well done "art syle". On another note, its also good to see that the launch titles of dsiware have turned out to be quite good overall (I actually rate warioware snapped as well). Hopefully the service will continue to provide qulaity titles. Then again, for me, the wiiware entry titles in the uk were generally pretty good in my opinion; then for me, it turned out the service was approximately 50/50 overall in terms of good/bad games.



Gogata said:

This is the first DSi Ware game I downloaded and I am really happy with it! It is a great game, yet another succesfull title...



BleachFan said:

...While I'm currently impressed with Art Style, I'm gonna give this one a miss. Even though the majority of the Art Style games look great, this one just looks like a calculator. I play video games to get AWAY from things like math...



supa said:

i'll proably get it just for the sake of having it but it will proably the last art style i get right after aquia



winter123 said:

I just finished my last math course of my life. And i've taken everything (Calculus 1,2,3, diff. eq, finite math, etc.) It hurts just to watch this. I will pass.



supa said:

it's really good game guess i will get it before i get aquia!

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