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Score: 3.0 / 10
I love playing classic video games. Nothing
beats booting up an Amiga and putting a classic into the old 3.5Ē disk
drive and being reminded of games gone by. Itís strange however to have
this feeling when loading up a Nintendo DS game that isnít a compilation
of classic games. When the character sprites in Inkheart started moving
on my screen, however, I felt like I was back in the 80ís, only not in a
So letís get this out of the way. The animation in this game, for the
most part, is terrible. The audio is mediocre. Surely, there must be
some great gameplay underneath it all. When the game starts up, you have
to turn your DS sideways
because it reads like a book (and hey, itís
based on a movie thatís based on books) Ė so far so good. My first hope
is that this will be as engrossing as Hotel Dusk. Not so much.
You will get reading, so in that sense itís like a book. You will also
have to solve puzzles as you progress through the game and there are
even mini-games like a sleigh race and juggling.
The problem is that these mini-games are
actually more fun than the main game.
The story seems to drag on and the puzzles are not particularly hard to
figure out. Youíll actually spend more time struggling with the user
interface than actually thinking about what you are supposed to do. One
bad indication that this game was shipped before it was finished is the
fact that at times, menu options that are touch sensitive will appear on
the upper screen. No matter how hard I tried, my second (upper) screen
on my DS just wasnít touch sensitive. When the same screen moved back to
the bottom screen, it worked. Iím glad I didnít send back my DS thinking
it was at fault. This type of confusion just shouldnít be happening on a
commercial game, especially one with a movie license.
When the graphics arenít moving they are fairly decent. The image of
Brendan Fraser looks just like him (including the great hair). Beyond
that, itís hard to find anything good about this game to talk about.
Take your basic adventure format, dumb it down and slap a movie license
on it. Sprinkle in a few mini-games and youíve got a recipe for
disaster. The controls are not innovative, the reading is not
interesting and there is little replayability. Oh wait, I forgot. The
five mini-games can be played at anytime after you get to the end of the
game. If you actually ever make it that far.
If you love the movie, you might want to try this out just to see what
itís all about. If you are hankering for a decent adventure game with a
book twist, go grab Hotel Dusk: Room 215. Itís a much better ďreadĒ.
Itís also a great excuse to use that Rumble Pak just one more time
before the Nintendo DSi hits the street.
- Syd Bolton
(April 15, 2009)
Syd Bolton surrounds himself in classic games at the Personal Computer
Museum (www.pcmuseum.ca) in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.