Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Nintendo DS Downloadable Games [vol. 1] [Mini Review] [DS]

This post is a review of a few downloadable games for the Nintendo DS.


Plants Vs. Zombies
A brilliantly creative game that can make minutes turn into hours turn into the next morning.

PvZ is a tower defense game with the enemies being a vast variety of zombies (slow shufflers, american football quarterbacks, dolphin zombies) charging into your back yard - presumably to join you for dinner. Your tools to defend against this horde are an equally vast array of plant-type things (sunflowers, mushrooms, walnuts). The sheer variety of plants, zombies, settings and special game modes (including 20 unlockable mini games) means that you are challenged, interested and amused throughout.

The difficulty level is pitched very nicely, with levels providing a suitable amount of challenge without being stuck for too long any point in the adventure mode. The sounds are great - from the groans of the zombies to the eerily catchy soundtrack. The graphics, too, are spot-on although I cannot help but be a bit creeped out by "Salad Fingers" shuffling towards me with a desire to nibble my cerebellum.

Overall, this is a fantastic time killer that can be picked up and put down for weeks but is certainly worth the fiver that I paid for it.


Fieldrunners
Another tower defense title that lacks charm and beauty but makes up for it in ease and simplicity.

Each map has an entry point where enemies pour out and you use just 4 main towers (rising to 6 later) to guide the enemies away from the exit as much as possible and wear down their health. This leads to vast number of possibilities and combinations which you can try out and find the best way to take them all out before they make it to your base.

As I said before, this is not a charming nor a beautiful game - in fact the graphics would be better suited to a Windows 95 title and the sound doesnt really add anything to it either. The limited number of towers and maps means that there isn't a great deal of depth here and you may become bored fairly quickly. However, as maps can sometimes take a few goes to get right (especially on Hard difficulty) and with 100 waves of enemies each time, if you can stick with it Fieldrunners can keep you going for a couple of hours at least.

It's not pretty, it's not very clever but it was damn cheap so it's hard to complain!

Flight Control
I went down the rehab clinic and gave the smackheads some sound advice - "Methadone is good an' all but if you want something to make you forget about the brown - it's Flight Control".

So blisteringly simple I really did wonder what all the fuss is about. You have several runways on each map (5 maps in total) and your job is to guide planes and helicopters down to the correct landing strip. There are only 3 types of plane (slow, medium and fast) and 1 type of helicopter. You guide each in by drawing a flight path from the plane/chopper down to the end of the runway, sit back and watch it make the landing. That's it.

The brain-wrenchingly addictive part comes when you try a level a few times. The first time I got 20 landings before a collision which I really should've seen coming. So I thought "Fuck it, you smarmy flight hostess who tells me my final score. I can double that, I'm sure!".

As the number of landings tops 30 the number of planes on screen increases to 10. You've got choppers slowly creeping in that get in the way of your speedy jets, then the slow planes start to build up because you can't find a clear time to land the bastards.

"OK, doing well, got a few out the way at once.... yes... and.... NO! YOU FUCKER! Stupid jet speeding into that chopper! ARE YOU BLIND!?!".

Onto the screen pops smarmy bitch. "New high score - 33".

I know it's not a good idea. I know she's baiting me. But I really thought I'd do 40 that time. "Alright, just ONE more go....".

Then next time I glance over at the clock it's 2am. I've successfully got 60 landings on each of the 5 maps. But I want to see the look on that bitch's face when I top 100. Then I'll show her. Then she'll know who the daddy is. The flight master. The aircraft king. The loser who needs to get up for work in 4 hours. "Last go this time.... I'll get to 100 if it kills me....".

Given that I paid about a fiver for this, I didn't even need to consider pawning my TV to keep the addiction going. The bills will start to pile up if I throw any more FC-related sickies though.

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