WayForward's first DSiWare release Mighty Flip Champs was arguably the first must-have title for the service, and given the game's popularity it's understandable that fans have been clamouring for a sequel ever since. But rather than create a direct sequel, the developer has instead chosen to throw gamers into a completely new gameplay experience, while somehow still retaining all of the endearing charm and engaging attributes of its predecessor.
The basic premise of Mighty Milky Way is quite simple. Your goal is to guide Luna across a barrage of planet surfaces and to the Goal Gateway warp at the end of each level. Since you can't control Luna directly, you'll have to rely on the gravitational pull and pulsing of the planets in order to manoeuvre her. To do this you'll have to tap on the various planets in order to pulse them which will in turn cause her to jump off in the direction she's currently facing. Of course you'll also have a host of hazards to avoid, not to mention some absolutely diabolical level designs to overcome along the way. There's even a boss fight at the end of each world that kicks the intensity up a few notches as you race to avoid the planet-destroying lasers of the T-Rex.
While there are generally planets already positioned throughout each level, there will be times when you'll be forced to create planets of your own using the Planet Candy floating around Luna. This requires nothing more than tapping on the touchscreen in the location you wish to create a planet; the longer you hold down the stylus, the larger the planet will be. Since you only have a limited number of pieces of Planet Candy, you'll have to use them sparingly, as well as pick up additional Candy when needed. While most walls are dangerous to the touch, you'll occasionally find Bouncy Walls that you can bounce Luna off in order to reach tricky spots or planets that at first seem out of reach. It's this careful planning and navigating that make up the bulk of the challenge in reaching the end of each level.
Since the gravitational pull and planet creation won't always be enough to get you through some of the trickier levels, WayForward also tossed in a host of other useful gameplay options including Teleportals and Crater Cannons. Teleportals will allow you to teleport from one portal to the other in the direction you entered and Crater Cannons allow Luna to be loaded in and shot out in a specific direction. While these might sound rather rudimentary, you'll quickly realise how integral they are to beating some of the more challenging levels. You'll find that there are often a number of ways to beat a level, another aspect of the game that makes its puzzles so devious at times.
Since the game uses the touchscreen for most of its input, the game has a very intuitive feel to it. You'll still have to use the D-Pad or action buttons to control Luna's walking speed and the degree of zoom with which you're currently viewing the level, but you'll soon find that these controls work quite well in conjunction with the touch controls. The simple gameplay design makes the game easy for gamers of all skill levels to pick up and play, but the increasing difficulty curve soon picks up to levels that will challenge even the most seasoned gamer. And when you consider there are 40 levels, not to mention an unlockable mode that allows you to go back and replay the levels in a whole new way, you've got a wealth of gaming action to sink your teeth into.
Given the fact that the game uses a lot of zooming in and out, the visual makeup of the game is a bit pixelated at times. While this might be a bit of a shock for gamers who've become accustomed to the silky smooth look of WayForward's previous DSiWare offerings, it's a necessary evil given how the game functions. There's still the amazing character designs we've come to expect from the developer and the simple graphical designs do give the game a very free-flowing look that fits the setting perfectly.
The soundtrack in Mighty Flip Champs was impressive, so expectations were obviously high for this pseudo-sequel and it doesn't disappoint. Not only is there a wide variety of musical styles, but even the musical makeup of the individual songs shows a surprising amount of diversity. Some tunes have a very synthesizer sound to them while others feature an 8-bit chip tune vibe. Truth be told there's not a bad track in the bunch and each track does a fantastic job of conveying the theme of the particular level they're featured in. You'll even be treated to a host of French dialogue each time you send Luna to her doom, something that adds even more charm to the presentation.
With so many game developers playing it safe nowadays it's refreshing to see a developer continue to take chances the way WayForward has, and Mighty Milky Way is yet another shining example of the studio's creativity. It might not be the true Mighty Flip Champs sequel some were hoping for, but it's every bit as addictive and a game absolutely no DSi owner should miss.