Before the days of Game Boys and DS systems, Nintendo manufactured a small portable game device called the Game & Watch. These electronic games featured LCD screens that featured specific movements that could be controlled via various buttons and d-pads on the units. While they didn't feature the same type of full range movements and controls of today's portable game systems, at the time they were quite revolutionary and wildly popular around the world. Nintendo recently released a recreated collection of a couple of these classic LCD games and packaged them into DS release for their Club Nintendo, but have now decided to release more of them individually and at a budget price point for their DSiWare service.
Mario's Cement Factory was easily one of the more popular Game & Watch titles during its original release, not to mention one of the more sought after units by collectors on auction sites. The game's premise is quite simple. You must guide Mario around the cement factory, releasing loads of cement that come dropping down from the conveyor belts and into the hoppers by flipping a switch in order to load them into the trucks at the bottom of the screen. You'll have to be quick in order to not let the piles of cement stack up too high. Of course you'll also have to constantly navigate the moving elevator platforms in order to reach the various hoppers without falling. It's this intense pace that will prove to be quite a challenge, but one you'll have to endure in order to rack up points.
As with most Game & Watch releases, there are two difficulty settings to choose from. Game A tends to be the better starting place as the pace starts out fairly playable for gamers of any skill levels. Of course if you start getting too efficient with Game A you can always switch over to Game B where things are a bit faster and more intense. Either way, Mario's Cement Factory remains one of the most playable of the Game & Watch titles and offers quite a bit of diversity in its gameplay scheme, even with the limitations of the LCD movements. You'll constantly catch yourself coming back to the game in an effort to better your previous high score and that's where the majority of the fun is to be had.
From a musical and visual standpoint there's not much to these LCD re-releases. The developers have done a fantastic job of recreating the overlay visuals that were painted on the screens of the original LCD units and the LCD displays are spot-on perfect renditions of the original. Even the little bits of music and metallic sound effects are emulated to perfection, so much so that it can be difficult to tell the difference between this DSiWare release and the original Game & Watch unit. It's nice to see Nintendo put some care and effort into keeping these classic LCD games as accurate as possible, something fans of the electronic games will surely appreciate.
There's no denying the nostalgia factor involved in these classic Game & Watch releases and the DSiWare service is the perfect place to make these available as individual releases for those who've longed to play them again. Sure they're not going to set the gaming world on fire with their playability, but for those who can appreciate them, they're really cool and still a lot of fun to sit down with when you have a few minutes to kill. If you already own Game & Watch Gallery 4 on Game Boy Advance, you're not getting anything new really, but for everyone else who've longed to play these Nintendo classics, now's the perfect opportunity.