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Title: Touch Detective
Genre: Adventure
Platform: Nintendo DS
Complete: Yes
Price Paid: $29.99
Would Pay: $9.99

Another, very conventional, point and click adventure for the DS. Unfortunately, it took mainly the bad conventions of the adventure genre. It wasn't horrible like others I could name, but there wasn't anything for someone that isn't enamored of adventures. The interface takes advantage of the DS, but not to the gimmicky degree that Trace Memory. Many puzzles were solved by "hey, I haven't used this item in my inventory yet, and here's a new situation", and some events were triggered by arbitrary conversations with characters, and there were some pixel hunts as well. Cliched, overdone problems with adventure games, but not done quite enough to make it a horrible game. Not good for those being introduced to the genre, but at least something to try for periods of time without needing to be coordinated. The graphics are apparently hand drawn, and quite pretty for a handheld. The touch screen is perfect for the game play, but the upper screen is underutilized, just indicating the characters moods.

Please, please, please, Lucas Arts, release Day of the Tentacle and Fates of Atlantis for the DS. This handheld is just screaming for a good point and click.
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Title: Dragon Quest Hero: Rocket Slime
Platform: DS
Genre: Action Adventure / RTS
Complete: Yes (main story)
Price Paid: $34.99 (new)
Would Pay: $29.99

There's small slimes, big slimes, borg slimes, hard slime, soft slime, soap slime, flying slimes, jumping slimes, hairy slimes, ninja slimes, dog slimes...

I swear, this game hits every possible (clean) slime joke in the book. There's no lack of groaners in here at all. You play a slime from Dragon's Quest 8. Your hometown was invaded by the plob (platypus mob), leaving only you in the wreckage.

This is really two games in one. You start out wandering around, trying to find your friends. This works somewhat like the top down Zelda games, and the style is somewhat reminiscent of Minish Cap. Your main weapon is yourself. You stretch and let yourself go, hitting things like a rubber band. As you knock items into the air, you can catch them on your head and can send them to town for later. Enemies that you catch become residents of the town, and if you catch enough, they will help you out.

The second part of the game begins after you find a legendary tank. You get in tank battles at various points of the adventure. You launch ammo that the tank provides at the enemy, trying to shoot down their fire and hit them. Everything you've collected can be used as ammo, and enemies will join you as tank crew members, after you've caught enough of the particular type.

This game is extremely, extremely easy. I died once, and that was fighting the final boss. I didn't lose any tank battles, although some were pretty damn close, with both tanks down to 0 and each crew heading in for the coup de grace to the other. The initial impression of the tank battles was that they were going to be extremely difficult, I barely pulled through by the skin of my teeth. Then I gained the ability to add other crew members to the tank and pretty much dominated most tank battles. The AI of the crew leaves much to be desired, there's no way to tell them what type of ammo to use, which hurt when they loaded good ammo and the other tank launched a mirror.

Despite the games ease, there are little gems in there for gamers. Many of the slimes are puns on characters or items in DQ8, and possibly earlier. The caretaker of the tank is, in a nod to other Square/Enix properties, Cid. Although in this case, he's a platypus with a german accent. I'm still collecting items to try and finish up all the alchemy, another nod to DQ8. There is also a museum with statues of the enemies you capture, with the metal quality (I have bronze and one silver) changing as you capture more monsters. There's tank battles, run by none other than a slime named "Morrie". The main disappointment in this game is that it doesn't take advantage of the capabilities of the DS. It's nice having the two screens, but there is almost no use of the touch screen as an input device except for one mini-"game" where you can scribble.
sqlrob: (link)
I was >.< this close to a preorder for the Wii.

But the DS Lite cracks. Mine shows the crack, just not as badly as the one pictured at that link. I don't mistreat it, I only open it to the first click, and it's stored in a hard case.
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Title: Scooby Doo Unmasked
Genre: Platform
Platform: DS
Price Paid: $8.96
Would Pay: $2.99
Complete: Yes

Between this and Trace Memory, I'm starting to think that DS stands for "Damn Short". Where length was the major flaw with Trace Memory, that's not the only problem with Unmasked.

Like Mystery Mayhem, the game is incredibly repetitious. Each of the paltry three levels are do some platforming, get clues, go to newly unlocked area for the other clues, figure out which clues are real, boss battle. Go to next level.

The game is incredibly easy. I don't think enemies killed me a single time, just plenty of deaths from control issues. It was a frequent occurrence that double jumps wouldn't take, and Scooby would fall to his death.

There are some redeeming features, but not enough to give this game a recommendation. The clues aren't simply found as they were in Mystery Mayhem, you have to do some examination with tools and the touch screen to see them. The boss "battles" are an interesting little diversion. You no longer control Scooby, you perform indicated actions on the touch screen before the boss catches up to you. A neat idea, but some of these are too specific and don't necessarily register the way you intended.
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Title:Trace Memory
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Adventure
Price Paid: $29.99
Would Pay: $19.99
Completed: Yes

My first game on the DS Lite. I had to get an adventure game, to see how the genre was going to transfer over to the new platform. In Trace Memory, it did so fairly well. Point and click is really point and click. There are puzzles unique to the DS itself. One was based entirely on the physical properties of the DS. Another was based on something completely unique to the DS. I needed to remove dust off an item. I spent time wandering around looking for something to clean it. No luck whatsoever, and the solution was simple - blow on it. Not issue the command to the character, but literally blow on it.

The characters weren't particularly endearing, you control a whiny 13 (turning 14) girl trying to find her father, but the adventure content was fairly solid. The major problem is the length. This game is incredibly short. I finished it in less than 7 hours, and it would've been even less had I been an experienced DS user. Good game, but certainly not worth list price at it's current cost.


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April 2009

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