Contact Review / Preview for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Contact Review / Preview for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Quick, grab your DS. Contact is calling you.

DS fans, you’ve been treated to a whole variety of games on your little dual screened system, including a healthy dose of RPG’s. If the nail-biting wait for Final Fantasy III is proving to taxing on you, consider checking out the undeniably unique action/RPG Contact from Atlus.

Developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, the team behind Killer 7, Contact is certainly going to “click” better with some gamers and probably confuse others. Where this title shines right off the bat is that it breaks the fourth wall between gamer and game. While you have control over the main character, Terry, you more or less assume the role of yourself. The intro of the game reveals a character simply known as “Professor”, who makes the discovery that you have “contacted” him with a device known as the DS. His ship has crash-landed on a mysterious island, and this is where he enlists the help of the game’s protagonist, Terry. At this point, the story begins, and you control, Terry’s course of action with the stylus.

While the whole indirectly but direct control aspect is an interesting twist to the RPG genre, it leads to a few questionable gameplay mechanics. The option to control all of Terry’s movement and interaction with his surrounding with the stylus ultimately feels too loose and clunky. Luckily you can also use the d-pad and face buttons as an alternative control method. Not that the stylus isn’t put to good use during the game, it just doesn’t work that great as a control input. Another more relevant and decidedly more distracting gameplay choice concerns battle sequences. You literally guide Terry around his world, but when you enter the battle mode, he does most of the work while you sit and watch. Terry will automatically attack his enemies without your input. You can still move him around his target to evade attacks and select which kinds of magic or special moves he can unleash, but there is something unsettling about not having control over your basic attack action. It doesn’t ruin the game experience, but you feel even more like a spectator rather than acting out the role of the hero. Like I said, for some, the game will either click or confuse.

Fortunately, Contact is much more than just watching Terry wail on his foes. Everything from the deep amount of items, weapons, stats, and character development take this game from run of the mill to exceptional. There are also a number of added features, which relate to the direction of the game’s style that makes the playing experience even more enjoyable.

Your statistics for example, go far beyond your basic strength, offense, defense, speed, etc. formula that many RPG’s tend to follow. Almost every single decision you make throughout the course of the game can and will affect your stats. Level ups happen on the fly, so if you make Terry run through most of the levels, your speed will increase, let him get the crud beat out of him, and he’ll build up a resistance to physical attacks. There are also different costumes to wear (which bear a resemblance to the many Final Fantasy job classes) for Terry to don. Throw on a chef’s outfit and now you can cook up food and use chef related weapons during combat. You’ll also gain specific elemental powers based on which types of outfits you wear, and the list is pretty substantial. Throughout the game, the professor will assist Terry with clues and special stickers that you can use to alter yourself or even enemies on screen.

The game makes use of the two screens on the DS to display the Professor at work in his control room on the top screen, and the main action involving Terry on the bottom screen. RPG veterans may find the graphical style of the top screen very similar to the game Earthbound, while the bottom screen combines beautifully hand drawn backgrounds combined with sprite characters. The soundtrack, while not exactly mind blowing, is very rock solid. You won’t be muting this game any time soon.

In the end, Contact offers up a truly unique playing experience. While some gamers will be turned off by the lack of control during battles, the game’s deep statistics, enduring characters, and down right bizarre story are more than enough to warrant a look. To add some more life to the title, a Wi-fi option has been included which allows players to share and swap data and have a virtual representation of themselves displayed in the game. It truly is a quirky title, but given the chance, Contact is a pleasing and immersive for those willing to take the plunge.


  • Abundant gameplay activities including animal-training, item-collecting, monster-hunting, and old-school mini-games!
  • Dual-screen functionality with mission maps, interior/exterior viewpoints, and more!
  • Real-time combat with special abilities and powerful “Decal Attacks”!
  • Character design by Atsuko Fukushima, whose credits include the PSP hit PoPoLoCrois!

    Rating out of 5 Rating Description


    The game features a simple Earthbound inspired look on the top screen while offering beautifully rendered locations and sprites on the touch screen.


    Using the stylus to move the hero around isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Stick with the d-pad/buttons combo.


    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Nothing in particular stands out, but Contact features a rock solid soundtrack.


    Play Value
    Just a tad bit too short overall, but the wi-fi option extends the replay value just enough.


    Overall Rating Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Preview

    An Offbeat Action RPG Packed with Hunting, Cooking, Fishing, Training, Collecting, and Romance! by Vaughn Smith

    Press Release: Atlus U.S.A., Inc., a leading publisher of interactive entertainment, today announced the acquisition of the North American publishing rights to Contact, an action role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. Developed in Japan by Marvelous Interactive Inc., Contact is scheduled for release in the summer of 2006.

    “Contact is the rare breed of quirky RPG that attracts a rabid fanbase with its whacked-out story, setting, and characters,” said Tomm Hulett, Project Lead for Atlus U.S.A., Inc. “I’m excited that gamers will be able to spread the fever to thousands of others with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.”


    The klaxon alarm is shrieking! Something is wrong! The Professor wrestles his damaged spaceship to a crash landing on a mysterious planet.

    In the aftermath of the crash, The Professor discovers that the power sources of his ship, known as Cells, have been scattered across the surface of this strange world. To retrieve them all, The Professor enlists the aid of a brave young man named Terry–and a brave video game player known as you! The Professor and Terry will ask for your help during the course of the adventure, using the Nintendo DS to “contact” you along the way.

    Will The Professor gather the Cells and return to outer space? Will you learn the goal of the mysterious organization that seeks to gather the Cells for itself?

    The future of an entire world has been placed in your hands!


    • Abundant gameplay activities including animal-training, item-collecting, monster-hunting,
      and old-school mini-games!
    • Dual-screen functionality with mission maps, interior/exterior viewpoints,
      and more!
    • Real-time combat with special abilities and powerful “Decal Attacks”!
    • Character design by Atsuko Fukushima, whose credits include the PSP hit PoPoLoCrois

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