|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 505 Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Mini-game compilations on the DS seem to have become a fast-favorite among publishers in order to draw in the casual gaming crowd. Finding the right balance of pick-up-and-play fun and enough depth to keep players interested over the long-term is the key challenge developers must face with the genre. Turn It Around is a valiant attempt by Majesco to provide an accessible collection of spin-oriented mini-games, but developers 505 Games overlooked a few ingredients necessary to make the formula a success.
Judging by the two cute, chubby Power-Ranger look-alikes featured on the cover and throughout many of the mini-games, one could easily, and mistakenly, assume Turn It Around has some kind of story. From the second you boot the game up to the moment you turn it off, there's absolutely no explanation given about the characters. We never learn who they are or how they relate to the odd compilation of crazy mini-games. Some elements in the game seem to hint at a possible story or theme, but one is never explicitly given. It's rather disappointing. My best guess would be the little characters are training to be super heroes of some sort.
Without a real story to connect the dots, Turn It Around is simply a somewhat bizarre collection of 24 touch screen spinning mini-games with a decidedly Japanese feel to them. A few familiar properties crop up in the form of Arkanoid, Cameltry, Bub Bob (visual reference to Bubble Bobble), and Elevator Action, though most of the games are quite peculiar. Some of the stranger games involve crushing a giant robot with a 100-ton weight, making snow cones, guiding a tipsy business man to the train before midnight, and a human hammer throw. Sprinkled in the middle are a few sports games to boot, but they are present in the most basic of forms. On the whole, most of the games take less than a minute to complete, and some are over in a matter of short seconds. It should take players an average of 20 minutes or less to plow through the entire collection.
The concept behind this collection revolves around spinning something called a MawasunderPAD around in a circular motion with the stylus to complete objectives on the top screen. Each game is lumped into one of three control categories. The power category requires you to frantically spin the disc around as fast as possible, the technique category uses shorter half-spins, and the brain category relies on simply spinning to solve puzzles. Spinning the MawasunderPAD is simple, but the control interface doesn't recognize your stylus unless it's within the small pad area. This poses problems, since you spent most of your time watching the top screen to see what's happening. It's too easy to accidentally slip outside of the circular pad and mess up your score. Given the whole game is based on spin control, the fact the game includes the option to use button controls for almost every mini-game kind of defeats the purpose. In fact, many of the games can be better-played with the DS face buttons.