Review: Globulos Party (DSiWare)

Shoot glob at target. Repeat. Wipe hands on pants.

Since 2000, GlobZ has specialized in browser-based webgames, the most innovative of which being Globulos, an award-winning set of adorable multiplayer minigames pitting you against opponents from across the internets. As DSiWare, Globulos Party has received similar acclaim, featuring not just a one-system multiplayer option, but also DS Download Play and Wireless Play. The focus on the multiplayer aspect has left the solo experience sorely lacking, but if you're in need of something to play with a friend, this could be fun for a while.

Globulos are round, brightly colored creatures who live in gardens and love to play games. As you begin, you'll be greeted by their king, who informs you that he's not as young as he used to be. He's looking for someone to take his place, which is where you come in. However, as the globulos are all about their games, you'll have to win all of the games on each available playing field to prove your worth. Pick two different globulos to represent you on the playing field and you're ready to go.

Though there are 20 different games to play, each feature the same basic mechanics. You'll have a few globulos at your command, and your opponent, whether CPU or human, will have the same number on their side. Tap one of your available globulos and drag in the direction you'd like for it to go, and an arrow will appear. The length of your arrow coincides with how much power will be behind your globulos as it zips across the screen at the end of the turn. The upper screen displays a map of the entire playing field, and while you're aiming, a dotted line will help you figure out just the right angle you'll need to hit far-away objects. You have a limited amount of time for each turn as shown by the Go button at the top of the touchscreen, which gradually fills with red. Tapping the button ends your turn, setting all the globulos on the screen into motion at once. They'll bounce off of walls, obstacles, and each other like little rubber balls, and once they stop moving, you'll do it all over again.

With the tutorial over, you may pick from one of the available games to play, including basketball, soccer, a race, and sumo wrestling. Most have multiple playing fields to choose from featuring different layouts and obstacles. You'll start a game at the lowest AI difficulty, after which the next difficulty will be unlocked. There are three levels per field per game, making for a total of 150 crowns to earn. Each difficulty level features a different opponent globulos; beat the same difficulty level across all the available playing fields for one game, and you'll be able to use that particular globulos to represent you on the field via the Change menu. There are sixty to unlock in all.

Some of the available games feature a ball (or a particular globulos) that must be pushed into a goal or out of a certain area in order to score a point; you'll shoot your globulos into the target to make it move about the playing field. The rest involve maneuvering your globulos around the playing field to get near a target point or avoid some enemy or obstacle. That's it. The only gameplay involved is you aiming and shooting your globulos over and over again. Needless to say, it's mind-numbingly repetitive, and playing against the CPU is wholly unsatisfying no matter which particular minigame you're in. Either the game will be too easy no matter which level you play at or you'll wind up stalemated for ten minutes until one of you finally slips up... and then you'll have to make another couple of goals or defeat the rest of the enemy team before you'll finally win the game at hand. The browser version has no such solo mode, and it's easy to see why - this game is boring to play alone.

That said, Globulos Party has an obvious focus on multiplayer, offering three different ways to connect with friends. Two players may share one system, passing the DSi back and forth to take their turns and then watching all the moves play out. You may play any game on any field together. DS Download Play and Wireless Play both offer the same kind of fun (and it really is a lot more fun when the CPU isn't just making the globs carom off walls at random). It's still repetitive by nature, but everything's more fun with a friend involved, and considering there are 20 available minigames spanning fifty different playing fields, there's bound to be at least one setup you and a buddy will enjoy playing together.

Though they're all just little round colored blobs, these game-loving creatures have distinct features and cutesy names, making them nearly Pokemon-like in nature (and charming to boot). During a game, the on-screen globulos will grin and wave at you regularly to attract your attention while you're busy laying out their next moves. They'll also hoot and giggle at you over a gentle backdrop of urban garden noises - you'll hear bugs, birds, a barking dog, and even a car horn every so often. The menus are easy to navigate, the fonts easy to read, and outside of a game, the music that plays is quirky and fun. A lot or audio and visual love was put into the making of this port and the original browser version, and it has certainly paid off; this is the kind of game you'll keep coming back to because you can't remember what put you off about it just by looking at it.


When you think "party games," you don't normally think of playing multiple games in the exact same manner, and there's a reason why – it gets boring. Dragging arrows out and shooting cute little garden-dwelling blobs around is interesting at first, but when it becomes apparent the CPU doesn't know what it's doing, you'll need a friend around to really take advantage of what Globulos Party is offering. Though it's all the same drag-and-shoot kind of game dressed up with different rules and objectives each time around, surely you and a friend will have some fun playing a few games out of the available twenty, and they've made it easy for you to do so with three different ways to multiplayer it up. If you're the type who needs something random to play with a friend, this will be great for a short diversion (and you can always give the browser version a try to see if it's up your alley), but if you're just in it for the solo experience, avoid this game like the plague.

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