Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest Review
Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Lightweight Co. Ltd./Headlock Corporation 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco Entertainment 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 4, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Control-wise, you'll still run into a few of the qualms frequently bestowed upon RTS titles: troublesome path finding, occasional difficulties in managing larger groups of units, and the propensity for units to wander when not under your direct command. The latter is perhaps the bigger issue of the three, but it's easily solved by replacing lost units or keeping tighter reign over your army. In this case the complaints are minor, and the solid game design holds up well. Combat is frequently a game of bait-and-switch. You'll end up frequently using Dorian to entice enemies into pursuit only for them to be tackled and obliterated by a swarm of chattering squirrels waiting nearby. There is a decent variety of enemies of different sizes, shapes, and types, and the boss battles are quite clever.

Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot

Mana is the primary magical resource in the game; it powers your ability to summon troops and use of the various spell abilities in the game. Your mana meter slowly regenerates on its own, but it can be hastened by collecting power-ups scattered around the map, leftover from fallen enemies, and dropped by recently grown trees. When enough mana is raised, units can be summoned at the mana house that serves as your home-base on each mission map. Your woodland army will grow over time as more tree varieties are planted. In-between battles, you can use collected mana drops to boost a unit type's level, defense, power, and speed. Meeting certain stat and level benchmarks will cause your creature to evolve into a new variety of its species. You can also increase your overall numbers to substantially high levels by planting frequent trees to bulk up your forces. Every tree you plant also goes towards your overall "greening" percentage which unlocks new abilities as it increases.

Advertisement

Eco-Creatures is a good time overall, and the main campaign is reasonably lengthy. New enemies, scenery elements, and objectives are thrown into the mix from time-to-time to keep the somewhat repetitive gameplay from dragging, and the enticing story helps propel the game forward during lulls in the action. Unfortunately, most of the time playing a mission is simply a matter of amassing a large force and heading out to take down groups of enemies before they cut down too many trees or come to destroy you personally. It's still endlessly fun to watch dozens of squirrels pounce angrily on robot drones to tear them to bits in a matter of seconds. Continually upgrading your units, seeking to green-up the land, and earning new abilities also adds another level of fun complexity to the title. A host of multiplayer options are available for those who want to save the environment with a friend, and you can even create your own full-blown levels with the build-in Land Make editor.

The eco-friendly message and cute, cushy exterior make this game an easy-sell to parents wanting to hook their kids up with something a little more wholesome than your average beat'em up, but Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest packs enough substance to hold up under the scrutiny of those whose gaming tastes lean towards the more mature end of the spectrum.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Bright, colorful, and adorable through and through.
3.8
Control
Wide range of control options work great overall, despite a few small trouble areas.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound effects are cute, but the music quickly becomes repetitive.
4.0

Play Value
A deep and varied overall experience for a handheld RTS title.

3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The first eco-friendly adventure for the Nintendo DS! Eco Creatures promotes awareness of the perils of over-industrialization, deforestation, pollution, extinction and global warming, as well as their effects on various life forms.
  • Use the Touch Screen to control magical powers and units of woodland creatures with ease and precision.
  • Employ woodland creatures to strategically protect the woods and recover the polluted land. Each creature type has different abilities: Ecolis grow trees; Ecoby build bridges and swim; and Ecomon move objects and fly.
  • Manage your powers and creatures wisely in a robust single player experience filled with more than 40 challenging missions.
  • Nurture your woodland creatures to help them evolve and learn new abilities so they can better assist your environmental missions.
  • Plant new trees to prevent deforestation of the woods, earn power-ups that grant enhanced or new abilities, and grow your army of creatures.
  • Choose between an enormous array of strategies to defend your homeland from enemies and bosses like the evil Mecha Army.
  • Play with friends through local ad-hoc connections or via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
  • Two to four players can play over a local connection or via game sharing with 1 cartridge.
  • 2 players can play via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and see where they rank in an online ranking system.
  • Land Make feature lets you build your own maps and invite friends to play in levels you've created!


  • Screenshots / Images
    Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest screenshot - click to enlarge

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook