NINTENDO DS REVIEW: METEOS

Puzzle fans get ready to make stupid faces and have someone wipe the drool off of your chin while you enter into your deep state of concentration - which looks to others like you're having a stroke.

The planet Meteo is flinging deadly meteors across the galaxy. Armed only with a stylus and your quick wits, you must align these colored tiles to matches other similar colored tiles. When you make a chain of them, they become a rocket and blast the line above them back into outerspace. By creating combos you will create more powerful blasts that will send the tiles flying higher or send more tiles along for the ride. Sure there are elements of Tetris included here but Meteos has an original feel to it that makes it seem that it was developed independently without the influence of the mad Russian's game.

For starters this game wouldn't be the same without the touch screen. If it weren't for the touch screen I doubt this game would even exist. It's fast paces and requires the use of the stylus to quickly select tiles and move them up and down their respective columns. Having instant access to each tile is the single most important aspect of the gameplay. It's almost impossible to play with the D pad which is offered if you're some kind of masochist.

I can't tell you how great it is to see a game specifically designed around the touch pad which helps to raise it out of the realm of novelty.

Power-ups play a large role in the game, especially in the multi-player modes where you can smash your challengers tiles to pieces to prevent them from creating a big combo. You can also send your eliminated tiles into your opponents' bins and let them sort through the mess. Of course this is always in danger of happening to you.

All of the tiles that you eliminate are recorded by the CPU which lets you use them to purchase unlockables. There are plenty of neat surprises that you will find. I won't spoil them for you. As if the gameplay isn't exciting enough there are so many other goodies to look forward to that you won't want to put this game down for days. I was literally dreaming about those damn tiles.

 

Up to four players can sample the multi-player aspect of this game without having to have a separate cartridge. While it's not as in-depth as the separate cartridge modes, it's enough to make puzzle fans run out and get their own copy. There are several different modes to Meteos including a bot-controlled multi-player mode when you just can't find any friends. Like when you have to spend a week or two at Uncle Denny's farm and you know that he can't even work an alarm clock. The bots do a good job but they're nothing compared to human opponents.

Meteos has a look and sound that is all its own. Different planets feature different graphics, aliens and theme songs. There are more than 30 of these levels. The music is excellent and the worlds are truly imaginative without being overly complicated. The gameplay is incrementally challenging. Each level is just a little bit more difficult than the last which keeps you always trying to finish "just one more," before you put it down.

Meteos is a good enough reason to purchase a DS if you're a true puzzle fan. This is without a doubt one of the best puzzle games and will certainly be my pick for best puzzle game of 2005.

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System: DS
Dev: Bandai
Pub: Q Entertainment
Release: June 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Rreview By Shelby
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
5.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
4.5