Review: Game & Watch Helmet (DSiWare)

When tools fall from the sky, just stay home that day

We should all be very glad that affordable portable video game technology has moved beyond the rudimentary LCD screen of the Game & Watch. Not that there haven't been any worthwhile endeavours to come out of the series, but when you're stuck designing your game around strict on-screen limitations then sooner or later you'll end up with excessively simplistic timewasters and call it a day.

Originally released in 1981 as the seventh Game & Watch title and the second in the Gold series, Helmet is one of these superficial diversions. In it, Mr. Game & Watch is stuck at some construction site where, we theorise, a massive explosion has sent all of the tools flying high, and it's your job to get him across to the other shed without getting bonked from falling equipment. The door isn't always open, so you'll have to time your dashes appropriately. You get three points each time you make it to the door, and each tool that hits the ground gives you another. Game A has the debris falling at a steadily ramping pace and Game B is a little faster and more erratic, but ultimately doesn't change the game too much.

The problem is that Helmet poses very little challenge. The falling tools are easy to predict and dodge, and unless you rush like an idiot to the door you'll rack up huge scores in no time. If you actually do get clonked, your three lives reset at the 200- and 500-point levels, eliminating any threat to your high score attempt. Required skill is at a minimum and as a result you'll grow tired of it fast.

Aesthetically, this is the same as all of the other Game & Watch DSiWare releases in that it does a fine job of simulating/emulating the real deal. The LCD outlines are nostalgic and the bleep-bloops sound appropriately Swatch-like, so kudos for that, we suppose.

Conclusion

Quite simply, Helmet is boring and without any real challenge. It's far from the top tier of Game & Watch releases on DSiWare, and you should only bother rushing to the shed once you've exhausted the rest of the series, if you happen to be a completionist or if you have strong nostalgic feelings for this one.