Nintendo DS game reviews: Fire Emblem, Big BangWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This new dynamic duo maximizes the Nintendo DS’s capabilities with quality gameplay and amazing controls. If you enjoy turn based strategy and action filled puzzlers (both with several language options), then get these all age games for your NDS library…and possibly your new Nintendo DSi when it releases on April 5.
This quality turn based strategy game jumps to the Nintendo DS (a remake of the original NES game) with a large variety and easy adventure format, ideal for first time players (for veterans, this game is the 11th in the series — you got them all?). This remediated plot includes a nice group of prologue chapters and 25 regular chapters centering on Prince Marth’s fight with Medeus, king of dragonkin. Set in the wide world of Archanea, you manage several different combat unit classes, abilities and powers on the road to victory.
Various save options prevent any progress from being lost and the strong tutorial gets you started on the right foot. Developers fill the top screen with valuable combat information and statistics as well as battle field maps for easier and exciting gameplay. Players can use the touch control/minimal button scheme or the standard directional pad and buttons to wield weapons and spells.
The troops follow logical promotion schemes (knights can eventually become generals, etc.) and include mercenaries, pirates, freelancers (who mimic basic troops) and bishops. Flying Pegasus knights expand the ground battles a bit while you have the slightly limited power to change a troop’s class (except lords and thieves) throughout the game. Strategy always plays a role in troop selection (e.g. archers can only shoot from afar and are useless in direct combat) plus you don’t that valuable fighter doesn’t regenerate once they die, which requires more deliberate moves and possibly, some unexpected emotional attachment to the carnage.
The game starts with normal and hard difficulty levels, but eventually expands to a total of six. The 3-D graphics could be better, but other production values make up for this minor deficiency. The orchestral music score and considerable storyline provide immense entertainment, especially for RPG fans.
The online play, a first for the series, really elevates this high level game. These amazing options, through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and wireless play modes, let you play against others using your troops. You can also visit the online shop to spend your hard earned gold amassed in the single player mode. You can even use the microphone to talk to online players (****, rated E10+ for mild fantasy violence and mild language).
Big Bang Mini
This affordable action shooter has a familiar Nintendo DS game set up. Target visuals on the top screen; control your movement (in various shapes) and actions on the bottom, then blend. Sounds like fun and, thankfully, it is fun as developers Arkedo and SouthPeak execute this formula very well. The great format and incredible use of the Nintendo DS functions will blow your mind throughout approximately 90 levels of firework filled fun.
Once you destroy baddies on the top with quick upwards strokes with the stylus and other advanced movements, they turn into falling stars that you catch on the bottom for scores and/or to advance. Be careful though, the challenging catch is debris created from your shots also fall, so you have to find a balance between shooting and moving, which also changes throughout the dynamic challenges. It can be frustrating to die while trying to switch between shooting and moving, but you must…you know what’s coming…that’s right – practice.
A single break of concentration can spell doom, but also produces great excitement. You can easily get tense excitement when making circles in a specific area to attract enemy fire. Coordination is key. Once you find the right technique for the basics, then you progress to expanded controls and power ups like pressing the L or R button (great for lefties or righties) while flicking the touch screen up for guided missiles (weaker than your normal shots) that destroy the main targets.
Slow moving goop, clouds and other obstacles assist the bosses and their minions in slowing your progress. Still, you have unlimited ammunition, so you always have a good chance to get out of seemingly impossible situations. The arcade mode levels (listed in order) include appealing animated settings in Hong Kong, Aurora, Kamakura, Luxor, Savannah, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Paris and, finally, the Abyss. Each level has 10 stages with a boss stage at the end. Each stage features a special bonus zone, which, if you complete them all successfully, unlocks the relax mode. Beat the Luxor boss to unlock the challenge mode which keeps scores.
Time limits don’t come into the forefront until you unlock the mission mode by conquering the arcade mode. In mission mode, you’ll find you must defeat certain level bosses in less than 30 seconds plus other various quests involving accuracy, skill and some very challenging limits. Developers keep the rewards coming with even other unlockable once you beat the incredible mission mode.
Luckily, you can get others to participate in the versus mode. Two players can go head to head with one game card in DS download play, turning the console vertically in battle through more limited settings. You can also post your high scores on leaderboards.
This game has great all around strengths in every area, even a hilariously written manual, which provides helpful summaries of the 10 arcade mode levels. You can also unlock a custom alarm clock that allows you to set a wake up time to the music tracks in the game. Worth a try, even if you haven’t previously used your Nintendo DS as an alarm clock.
Big Bang Mini also has a special 3D depth box art printing (a.k.a. lenticular), which you’ve probably experienced from cereal box or Cracker Jack toys. This additional publishing wonder adds special appeal to this high value game priced at… (drum roll) $19.99! An outstanding addition to your Nintendo DS library, especially for puzzle/action fans (****, rated E for everyone).