|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Q Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Q Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 10, 2008||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 playing through the game and accomplishing specific feats, you can unlock new planets and even "accessories" that dress up your onscreen icon. The former is worth playing for, considering that the planets' varying characteristics are what give this game so much variety. The latter, while some look flashy, are mere graphical enhancements.
Meteos Wars also features local and online multiplayer. Local multiplayer works exactly as the single-player experience does, and each player can independently adjust his bomb frequency and turn off Planet Impact. Unfortunately, we tried several times and failed to find matches in the online multiplayer mode, in both ranked and unranked mode. A quick Google search reveals many complaints about lag so severe it renders the game nearly unplayable.
For a puzzle game, Meteos Wars has an extensive backstory. A meteor has run into a planet and somehow turned it evil. The two stellar bodies, fused together, began spitting out blocks ("Meteos"), which threatened to destroy neighboring planets. Some of those planets' civilizations soon discovered that by combining three like Meteos, they could produce a reaction that hurled the blocks back into space.
They also developed a substance called Metamorite, and this enabled them to mimic the conditions on nearby planets (this is why, in Mission Mode, both you and your opponent use the same planet). They set out in a planet-sized ark made of Metamorite, intending to fly close to Meteo, mimic it to gain its powers, and battle it. Unfortunately, as they fly close to other planets, they must ward off the Meteos launched from them.
The various aspects of the presentation range from outstanding to mediocre. The music is on the outstanding side; all the songs have a definite space vibe going, but in genre, they range from psychedelia to hard rock to electronica. It is one of the best examples in memory of a game offering musical variety without straying from its unique mood and atmosphere, even if one of the songs seems to have repeated burping in it.
The graphics, meanwhile, are good, but far from outstanding. Each planet's blocks look different from every other planet's, giving a little variety in how the game comes across visually. However, there's nothing particularly stunning here, not that anyone plays puzzle games for the artistry.
The control scheme works reasonably well; they're the mediocre part. It can be a pain getting from one side of the screen to the other in a hurry, so it's not quite as intuitive as the DS version's controls were. (The XBLA title does have a few more features than the 2005 DS one, which was called simply Meteos.) Still, it's about as good as it'll get without a stylus, Wii-mote, or mouse.
All in all, Meteos Wars takes a fascinating DS puzzle title, slaps on a few bells and whistles, and plops it onto the Xbox Live Arcade. The title retains most of what made it a success, and additions like Planet Impact are a nice touch. On the other hand, the online multiplayer is a bit of a letdown, so in the end, whether Meteos Wars is worth your hard-earned $10 depends on how much you need a new puzzle game.
CCC Freelance Writer