|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BPlus||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: BPlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 26, 2009||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|
The other problem is the time limit. Even though it seems fair, the game is not forgiving at all, whether you're playing a beginners' stage or a more challenging one. You better stop bouncing around and beat the stage in about three minutes, or else the screen will fill up with an orange liquid that makes the task even more arduous than it was originally. Although, I have to admit the fluid actually helped me to beat a stage on a couple of occasions, when the pearls were so up high I just couldn't reach them on my own.
Unfortunately, the game's visuals are also quite disappointing. Original screenshots of Niki: Roll 'n' Ball piqued my interest when I first saw them online, but once you actually see the game on your TV screen, you'll find the graphics quite lackluster. Not only that, but the typical Wii "jaggies," as annoying as always, are also there to be seen. There's a very low amount of detail, and the level design, though it's apt for this kind of arcade experience, lacks some imagination. It must be because we've seen too many similar games in the past, even if none were controlled with the motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii Remote. The levels are pretty much what you would have found in games like Buster Bros. (Pang), N+, or an old-school pinball. The one thing I did like is the character design, as Niki and the numerous enemies are interesting and original, even if they can't quite compare to those you'd see in a Kirby or a Wario game.
The background music is not remarkable either. It gets repetitive when you repeat levels, and it's a bit too generic for today's standards. In its defense, it does fit the game and makes sense for it to be there, considering the game is sold for just $5.
One last thing to consider is it's co-op offering. Though both players will share the amount of lives and power-ups, playing together will help to alleviate some of the frustration. What's best, the second player can drop in and out at his/her own leisure, which is fitting for a game like this. The tracking of your high scores (completion time) at the end of each level also adds some play value, as it will motivate you to try to beat your own records.
As you can imagine, this game is not the kind you recommend to your friends. It could have been much more exciting if the controls were just right. However, the low price-point may be good enough to help some casual gamers decide to try out. After all, the game is not terrible. It's just very low-budget and decidedly frustrating in some occasions. If you're up for the challenge, I'd say go ahead and give it a try. Just don't expect a cool arcade game with all the bells and whistles, because this one just comes with the bells. I mean balls.
CCC Site Director