|System: DSi||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gameloft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gameloft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 10, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Sadly, the only new addition to this title is a face-off mini-game that has been shoehorned into all of the game's on-foot levels. During each level you'll come upon a comically oversized camera beside a picture of two cows with their heads cut out. Pressing the X button near these cameras will activate a mini-game where you'll need to maneuver the DSi such that your face appears alongside Jim's and fits well into a very small on-screen frame. Jim will then make a face, such as smiling or opening his mouth in astonishment, and then you'll need to mimic it within a time limit.
Sure, this can be mildly amusing the first, and perhaps second, time you do it but it quickly grows tiresome due to the lack of variety in faces (only saw three or four total), some issues with the facial recognition that will require you to retry several times before succeeding, and lack of incentive to participate. After successfully completing this mini-game, you're only given a few extra plasma shots, which really aren't very essential to making it through the game.
Speaking of lack of variety, while there are several off-the-wall things to do throughout the course of the game such as fighting a glob of mucus while bungee jumping and racing through space against Psy-Crow on the back of a giant rocket, they are often heavily reused. For instance, you'll do battle with the mucus three times in a row and race Psy-Crow five to ten times throughout the course of the game. While this may have been understandable fifteen years ago due to limited cart sizes, why are we still being forced to do the same few things multiple times when something new and different could have been added to help tone down this repetition? The simple answer: this is actually just a port of the game and not a remake.
Again, being almost a direct port of the 16-bit original, Earthworm Jim on the DSi is also a great reminder of just how far game design has advanced since the "good old days." Checkpoints are often few and far between, making getting through some of the game's more difficult levels more of a test of your patience than your skill. A good example of this is the "For Pete's Sake" level. Here you are tasked with following a puppy and using your machine gun to keep enemies away from him while also using your head whip to launch him over pits and obstacles. If he gets too injured or falls, he will become enraged, transform, and pull you kicking and screaming backwards through the level, forcing you to try the segment over again. Often this can mean backtracking through the same extremely long scenarios again and again just hoping to make it to the end so you won't have to keep replaying the same failures until you run out of lives.
Besides the DSi screen being a little too small to give you a perfect view of your immediate surroundings at all times and the tacked on face-off mini-games, this is the same Earthworm Jim we've been playing on countless systems over the course of the last decade and a half. At five dollars this title isn't a terrible proposition, as it is one of the best action platforming games of the 16-bit era. Of course, if you're looking for something newer or more modern out of this release, you'll surely be disappointed. But in the end, if you just want a portable version of Earthworm Jim, or are a complete newcomer to the series who doesn't mind some older game design frustrations, this is definitely a faithful port at a decent price.
CCC Staff Contributor