|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|
The term "arcade" tends to evoke images of a dimly-lit room filled with noisy machines, flashing lights, and kids lining up in front of their favorite game cabinets, anxious to feed it full of quarters and test their mettle in twitchy, hi-tech challenges. While the earliest of such establishments featured simplistic 8-bit games with basic shapes and incredibly simple-to-grasp play mechanics, things have come a long way in the last few decades. However, it might come as a surprise to some players that a trio of present-day, WiiWare arcade games based on three primitive shapes has the potential to offer more enjoyment than a fully hashed out retail release.
So far, WiiWare has been a great platform for fostering some unusual gaming ideas without posing as big of a risk for developers that are brave enough to venture out on a limb. Maboshi's Arcade takes three simple shapes - a circle, a stick, and a square - and turns them each into challenging games that possess a Tetris-like level of addictiveness. On their own, the arcade games are highly entertaining in short bursts, but things get a bit zany when you combine the three together.
Regardless of which mode you choose to play, the game screen always contains three vertically-oriented, rectangular windows arranged side-by-side. The game automatically loads up any Mii avatars you have saved on your system into a menu bar on the top of the screen. Dragging a Mii avatar onto any of the windows lets you play one of the three game modes in the available slot you've picked. Up to three people can play any of the games they choose at the same time, independently of one another, but the beauty of this arcade trio is certain events that happen within a particular game window cause elements to bleed into adjacent windows and have an effect on the gameplay of other opponents. The game is best enjoyed with two other human players, though you can get the same experience when playing solo. If you play by yourself, the A.I. will eventually kick in and start playing other games in the available windows.
The goal in all of the arcade games is to rack up a million points - an objective that's not easily met. While all of the three games utilize simple controls and straightforward gameplay, each is very different and possesses its own unique challenges. In the Circle game mode, you'll control a rotating ball that continually spins in one direction or the other within a spherical arena. Small enemies will appear towards the center of the arena and slowly work their way towards the outside. By changing direction with a simple press of the A button, you'll move back and forth, gaining momentum as you go, in order to launch the ball into each foe before it escapes. If even a single foe makes it to freedom, the game ends. This is the most frenetic of the three games, and new bumper elements and enemy behaviors are introduced as you progress to higher levels.
In the Stick mode, you'll control what appears to be a matchstick that rotates on an axis anchored to its round head. Slightly tapping the A button once you gain enough swing momentum will send your matchstick flying in the direction of its swinging tail. The goal is to move upward through an obstacle course of enemies and other dangerous elements without the head of your stick coming into contact with them. The swinging end will send enemies flying when it hits them and earn you points in the process. Moving a long distance will slow your swing momentum, forcing you to remain stationary while it builds up again. This can be tricky, when enemies are wandering precariously near. Power ups and score multipliers can be picked up to give you a boost along your way.