|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Mindware||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-3||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While the other two modes are action-oriented, Square mode provides a slower-paced puzzle game that's possibly the most enjoyable of the bunch. Moving in single steps along a grid field using the D-Pad, you'll inch your square upward through a maze of shapes. As you proceed, you'll leave a snake-like trail behind you that eventually sparks a flame and follows you on your winding path. Any adjacent squares touched by your flaming tail will ignite and eventually burn out over the course of several steps.
The game ends if you block yourself into a corner and can't move or if any squares that haven't been burnt touch the bottom of the screen (which advances upward with each step). You'll encounter bombs that ignite large sections of blocks and other goodies on your travels.
Each game mode in itself is quite engaging. They're easy to play, tough to master, and tend to draw you back for more. Playing individually is highly enjoyable, but the fun quickly amplifies with a crowd. Like Voltron, the three games in Maboshi's Arcade are way more badass when formed together into a single entity. Different game modes interact with each other in unusual ways when played next to one another. Whacking enemies in Circle mode will send them flying across the screen into the other games. They'll cause blocks they hit in the Square game to catch fire. Enemies hit in the Stick game will take out foes in the Circle game. Also, swinging your stick off the edge of the screen when the Square game is being played adjacently will take out any blocks it hits. This unpredictable interactive relationship makes each of the games far more interesting when played as a group and provides a big incentive to play with friends.
Maboshi's Arcade sports a pleasant-yet-basic graphical presentation and good audio. The Mii support is a nice touch, and the multiplayer component is very well implemented. As an added bonus, you can download the whole package directly to your DS. The portable versions of all three games sport more simplistic retro-style visuals but otherwise contain the same audio and spot-on, addictive gameplay.
Though it might initially appear to be yet another crummy puzzler collection for WiiWare, Maboshi's Arcade is actually a pleasant surprise. The three distinct arcade games offer some very fun and difficult casual gameplay, and the interactive element of playing all three on the same screen is simply brilliant. Puzzle addicts, arcade enthusiasts, and players seeking a solid and inexpensive multiplayer experience will find this WiiWare title fits the bill nicely.
CCC Staff Contributor