(DSiWare)

Game Review

Don't Cross the Line Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Simple fun when you're low on funds

If you've ever been a child, you've probably encountered your fair share of activity books. Within these collections of mazes, word searches and other such sources of momentary amusement, arguably the most forgettable of the bunch is the "don't cross the lines" puzzle. It's so underwhelming that if anyone's taken the time to give it a name, most (us included) haven't taken the time to remember it. Perhaps, though, the format of the static page and not the game itself has been the problem all along.

Don't Cross the Line takes this activity's concept as its central mechanism and ends up being one of the system's more interesting puzzlers. You are presented with a number of pairs of blocks with matching illustrations spread about the screen. Your goal is to connect each to its mate by drawing a line with the stylus; if you hit a wall, an incorrect block or a previously drawn line, the connector under construction breaks and recedes toward its source. At this point, buttons light up at the side that you can tap to expedite its course, keeping things moving as the clock drains and the time limit draws closer. There are also a few helpful bits here and there, such as the game's highlighting a matching block once its mate is tapped, that add to the experience and show that the developer cared about making a quality product.

The game's biggest drawback is its difficulty level; while it contains a sizeable fifty puzzles (fifty-nine if you count the practice stages), things don't get terribly tough until the last twenty. That's still not bad, and there's an extra goal of completing each level within a prescribed time limit and thus earning a bronze, silver or gold leaf. This adds a good deal of replay value to the parts challenging enough, preventing earning the highest honour from being a rather simple affair. There's a downside to these harder parts, however, as the winning strategy usually amounts to little more than hooking the innermost two blocks and drawing all of the other lines around the last. While there's still a good deal of thought involved, once you figure a puzzle out, the challenge becomes keeping a steady enough hand to draw a line through an increasingly tiny gap. While this increases the gameplay variety, careful tracing may not be everyone's cup of tea. It can still be a lot of fun, however, and when your task is to strategically plan your course so as to create the greatest amount of space in between each line, there's still enough thought required to keep you entertained. As your paths narrow, however, so does your ability to plan ahead, and while these moments might be the most intense (keep steady, stylus!), they're also arguably the most mindless.

The game's presentation is fittingly simple, taking trees and schoolwork as its themes, though without ever really unifying them. Harder levels are called "exams," you earn "degrees" as you progress and the background evokes the thought of notebook paper. At the same time, your trophies are leaves and as you continue, the foliage of a tree decorating the top screen fills with colour. The music consists of happy, entertaining and largely inoffensive MIDI tunes, the only obnoxious of which is the overly simple one that you encounter during the beginning stages. Overall, the game's framework adds a good amount of character and encapsulates the experience well without ever becoming a distraction.

Conclusion

This is a very inventive, fun and lengthy puzzle game marred slightly by a good deal of overly easy levels and at times uninteresting gameplay. While it's never going to be a classic, it's still quite entertaining and worth your 200 Nintendo Points.

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User Comments (15)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#2

Philip_J_Reed said:

Glad to hear it. For some reason this stood out at me as a timewaster that might actually grab me. (So far Bird and Beans, and Bookworm, are my favorite DSiWares in that regard.)

Will pick this up. :)

grumblegrumble

#5

grumblegrumble said:

Downloaded this on the first day because it looked interesting to me and I have to say... for this price point it does a great job. 200 points for something unlike anything else in that price point. Very simple but interesting and a good time waster. I gave it a 7/10 too. If you've got some spare points around, try it, you just might like it.

GammaGames

#6

GammaGames said:

sorry, I was never a child so I have no clue what you are talking about. XD i'm only 15

grumblegrumble

#7

grumblegrumble said:

Gamma... that sucks. You should really never rob yourself of the wonder and freedom that is childhood. Being adult sucks.

Bobpie

#8

Bobpie said:

Wow! Looks fun! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Ahhgh, the smileys..... D:

EDIT:

Wow, apparently the Japanese title is:
Kyoto Students Taishi Higashida Thought Puzzle Inspiration Signed Painting

Wow.

EdEN

#14

EdEN said:

200 points is the proper price for the game. At 500 points one could feel ripped off but at 2 bucks we're good to go.

dirty_martini

#15

dirty_martini said:

I bought this game yesterday and finished it with all gold leafs "Master of Masters". For $2 I enjoyed it as much as Spoto (another quick fun play game). I Highly recommend it.

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