Don't you hate it when you're on vacation at a beautiful island resort and everything suddenly bursts into flames? Then you're in your hotel, trying to escape the inferno, while everyone else is running around like a bunch of twonks who don't know how to take care of themselves? Finally, firefighters eventually rush in and pick up all of the other guests in the hotel and throw them through the emergency exit doors? If you've never had to live through this experience, then now is your chance with the recent release of Go! Go! Island Rescue! in the DSiWare shop.
In this action puzzle game, you take control of a team of firefighters who's job it is to lead guests (who are ironically called “Darwins”) to safety on an island that is engulfed in flames. Much like the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series or Lemmings, the Darwins are capable of doing very little for themselves, so it is your job to do the directing for them. Though different types of Darwins have certain abilities, such as surviving long drops or using fire extinguishers, it is still up to the firefighters to literally pick them up and throw them safely to the exits. If you lose a Darwin then you have the ability to reverse time and try again, but there is a limited amount of use on this feature, so screw up too many times and you'll have to restart the whole level. Levels are completed when all of the Darwins are safely through the exit door, and you then receive a medal ranking how well you completed the level depending on the amount of rewinds you had to use.
The game consists of four different over-worlds with around 15 to 20 levels in each. Interspersed between the levels are “lesson” levels that teach you about a new gameplay mechanic or type of character in the game. Completing these tutorial levels open up the levels that follow them, making it necessary to complete these in order to move on. Once the tutorials have been completed, however, the following stages can be played in any order. If you're having trouble with one particular level, the game welcomes you to skip it and move on to the next. Though 50 levels may not actually seem like a lot, there is a good amount of replay value offered here in trying to get a better time on each level or trying to get a gold medal.
The graphics are cartoony, cute and look like they're geared towards a younger audience, and the music and sound effects are equally as endearing, but don't let that fool you. Despite the way the game looks and sounds, it provides a challenge that is clearly aimed towards adults. Go! Go! Island Rescue! starts out innocently enough, but you will soon find yourself restarting levels over and over again as you try to wrap your way brain around solving the puzzles. If you don't mind a challenging game, then this is definitely one for you.
The game can be controlled using either the DSi's buttons or the touchscreen, depending on the player's preference. Whichever control scheme you use, you're still getting the same fun and fast-paced experience. While the touchscreen controls may take a bit of getting used to, mastering the game using both control options can be another added challenge for determined players.
If you like action puzzle games, Go! Go! Island Rescue! would make a great addition to your DSiWare collection. It's a cute and silly game full of light-hearted fun and exclamation points. Providing a good challenge, over 50 levels with good replayability, and priced at only 500 Nintendo Points, there's no reason not to pick this one up.