I have a theory; this game is called 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix because of the explosion it’ll cause in your head. No. Your noggin’ won’t explode with joy. It’ll most likely explode with frustration. After the first ten minutes of playtime I already felt a burning sensation through my chest just by playing a little mini-game of basketball, so you can’t imagine how it feels after a good amount of play. Seriously! A PPM (player’s patience meter) wouldn’t be a bad thing for this game! That way you could stop playing before you bang your head against the wall.
But, before we focus all our energy in the negative aspects of it, let’s read a little about what kind of game this is and try to figure out what makes it cool and what makes it suck.
First of all, this title offers a quite complete compilation of smaller games. Some of them are classic mini-games we’ve known for a long time, though with their own style. You’ll find a version of Snake, Pong, Sudoku, Space Invaders, Pole Position, Hammer Toss, and even a slider puzzle. The amount of games included in this little cartridge is what grabbed my interested in the first place. Even if not all of the mini-games were good, I’m a sucker for arcade-style stuff, especially for playing during a long trip, so I thought this game would be ideal for that.
However, after further inspection, I realized the games just scream low-budget. A few of them look decent and are even fun to play, such as “Serpent,” “Cup ‘n Die,” and a few others, but on the whole, they’re just the kind of Flash games you would play for free on the Internet. I was certainly hoping for a higher level of polish and much better controls. Everything is controlled with the stylus pretty much, and that’s definitely not the best choice for at least 50% of those games. Why placing little arrow icons on the screen to make the ship move left and right when the buttons on the d-pad would do a much better job?
Overall, the controls are very inconsistent. If you try your luck at games like Basketball, Tornado Hockey (air hockey), or even Bouncer (soccer juggling), you’ll soon notice the behavior of the ball is very unpredictable. Sometimes you’ll do a quick stylus flick that sends the ball through the roof and then other times it just makes it go up a little bit. That was one of the most annoying problems with the game, and I have yet to beat that darn Basketball game, though I was close, after about 30-40 tries. Other games don’t have such bouncy controls. Instead, they are extremely sluggish and almost ridiculous, the way they move; for example in The Descent, where you control a bat trying to reach the bottom of a cave while avoiding spikes and collecting bonuses. Hit detection was also really bad in this one and many others, such as Flies, a game where you’re a frog trying to eat up some flies. An old school Atari 2600 game would have been better than that!
The goal of these mini-games is to achieve a certain number of points. This rewards you with a bunch of gold coins that you can use to unlock new mini-games. However, not all games are beatable, at least from what I’ve seen. Unless you have extreme patience and lots of spare time to repeat some of these games over and over, I think you won’t be able to get the green checkmark on every single one of them. Luckily, there are enough games that you can just gather points by beating the playable titles and then unlock the rest. If you can believe it, there are even more inconsistencies with this title, like the fact that some games are extremely easy to beat and almost pointless.
Between those issues and then the ability of “Speed Chaos” to create motion sickness even though I was playing on a couple of tiny screens, my patience ended up wearing off. About four or five hours of play was enough to realize this wasn’t the game compilation I was looking for. Give me Touchmaster, Mario Party, or WarioWare any day of the week, because this one just doesn’t cut it!
The visuals are quite generic for the most part. There are few charming characters here and there, and even some games with a decent amount of detail, but overall, it’s nothing to wow you. I think this could be easily overlooked if the gameplay was fun and engaging, but like I said, that’s not the case.
As far as soundtrack, it’s a sad story. There are about two or three very similar tracks in this game that keep looping over and over. No matter what game you play, the soundtrack doesn’t add any excitement to it, because it’s all the same, just a little arcade game song with no power to impress. I strongly believe that video game soundtracks do A LOT for a game. They help to get you excited, energized, and sometimes emotional. But when the music is just cheap and plain boring, the game easily becomes boring as well.
I’m not sure why Atlus would publish this game, especially when they have so many good titles out there that have nothing to do with mini-games. It almost seems as if an amateur development team was using us as guinea pigs for their experiments. Even with the multiplayer option, the value of this title is a bit too low for a retail offering. If only they had released it on DSiWare for five or eight bucks, maybe they would have had better luck. That’s all one needs to say about 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix. There’s nothing competent enough to make you want this game. There are no hidden jewels in the mix, and no reason to spend 20 bucks on it. Now, if you reaaaally want to make the purchase anyway, hold off a few weeks and you should be able to find it in the bargain bin. Too bad! And I mean it.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.4 Graphics
Most games looks at least decent, and some of them have cute character designs and such, but nothing is really remarkable. 2.5 Control
Inconsistent controls throughout make this game boring to play and at times extremely irritating. 2.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The same music loops over and over again, no matter what game you play. Very few and uninteresting sound effects. 2.4
There are enough games that you might find some slight enjoyment out of a couple of them, but overall, it’s a low-quality offering.
2.4 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.