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JadeDragon's game reviews and playing tips: Nintendo DS games
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Meteos

Reviewed posted November 2005 by Ken Pradel

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Q Entertainment
Release Date: June, 2005
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone
Genre: Puzzle
Price: 29.99

Q Entertainment has been taking over the puzzle game industry recently. They quickly jumped on and took full advantage of the next generation handheld gaming consoles. Although they have only released two games, both have been smashing hits. The first is the unique and creative music rhythm/puzzle game Lumines for the Sony PSP. The second is Meteos, an addictive puzzle game for the Nintendo DS. Although not as innovative as Lumines, Meteos combines simple puzzle actions with a space theme to create a solid, amusing, and challenging game.

Gameplay

Meteos takes the simplicity of traditional puzzle games, and adds a twist on them. In this game, different colored blocks called meteos fall into your field. You simply use the stylus or the buttons to shift them vertically to form chains of three or more. At this point, the linked meteos will transform into rockets and launch themselves and any other meteos on top of them. How far up it goes depends on how many blocks are stacked up, and what level you are playing on. You play again the AI players who are also launching meteos. During gameplay, any meteos launched get sent to your opponent's side in order to fill up their screen. The screen is filled, the game is over.

One of the more unique aspects of Meteos is its levels. Instead of playing with numerical levels, you play as one of 40 different planets. Each planet has its own unique size, gravity, and colors of meteos. This allows players to experiment with the different planets in order to find favorites. There is also a variety of items to help you out such as rocket boosts, bombs and hammers. All these are unlocked through the Fusion Room. When you finish a level, all meteos launched are counted and organized by color. In the Fusion Room, they can be "fused" into new goodies like sound tests, weapons, and even planets.

The game also has wireless multiplayer for up to four people and works both with and without multiple copies of the game. The only problem with download play is that only the initial four planets are available, and it has a tendency to lag. However, when each player has a copy of the game, it works just as well as it would in single player mode.

Controls

The game can be played with both the touch screen and with the buttons. However, the stylus playing seems to be the focus and it quickly became my favorite way to play the game. Instead of having to switch two meteos at a time to form your desired link, you can quickly drag the meteo to its destination with the stylus. This is especially useful later in the game as you will be frantically searching for rows to launch once the screen starts filling up.

Graphics

As with most puzzle games, the graphics in this game are not particularly impressive. Although each level has a unique, colorful look to it, the quality of the graphics is rather simplistic. The top screen serves little purpose. The only time it is used during gameplay is to show the opponent's side of the screen when it tarts to fill up. Besides that, it is only used to display the results at the end of each level.

Sound

The music on all planets is quirky and fun. Each planet has a unique set of sound effects and music to match its style. For example, the robotic planets have some great sounding techno, and the jungle ones have some cool drum tunes. The sound effects also vary from planet to planet depending on the theme. This combination helps set a good mood during gameplay.

Conclusion

Overall, both hardcore puzzle fans and casual gamers will enjoy this game. It is easy to learn and doesn't require much time commitment, but it is also quite challenging. In terms of addictiveness and accessibility, you can safely call this game the DS' Tetris. If you have a puzzle fan or find yourself playing casual puzzle games more than you realize, Meteos will provide a good fix while you are on the go or just need to kill a few minutes.

Hints and Cheats

- If you need to rack up meteos for the fusion room, use Heavendor. No matter how many meteos there are stacked on top of the rocket, the whole thing will automatically disappear when launched.

- Super rockets are your best friend. The moment you can unlock it, do so. These will help you collect more meteos for the fusion room faster as they will turn the whole row they are on into rockets.

- Once in a while, a strange meteo may fall into your screen and destroy the entire column it fell on. These are a rare soul or time meteos. I would highly recommend launching them as they are expensive to make in the fusion room.

 

Screen shots:

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

Pretty and clean, but nothing special or revolutionary. Q Entertainment is good at making games addictive with good enough visuals to keep you interested.

Sound

The music and sound effects are fun and sound appropriate for each level. They are well thoughts out and placed carefully throughout the game to create a nice mood.

Fun Meter

Although it is not particularly original or innovative, it is probably one of the best puzzle games since Tetris. The beauty lies in the simplicity yet quite challenging at times.

Addictivity

Although the simplicity behind this game makes it easy to pick up and play a quick level, you will likely play more levels as it's hard to put down. For puzzle fans, the replay value is infinite.

Total Score= 4 Dragons, 80%



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