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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Puzzle

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Q Entertainment

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

June 28, 2005

 

- Frantic puzzling

- Excellent multiplayer

- Many unlockables and tons of stats

 

 

- Almost a little too frantic

 

 

Review: Kirby Canvas Curse (DS)

Review: Yoshi Touch & Go (DS)

Review: WarioWare Touched! (DS)

Review: Polarium (DS)

 

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Meteos

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Handheld gaming gets a full complement of puzzle games.  The genre seems extremely well-suited to handle (usually) low-tech games that seek to short circuit brain cells by making gamers think.  And sometimes a developer makes a game that exercises brain cells and reflexes at the same time.  The combination doesn’t always work but Meteos puts the two together and the results are a solid gameplay experience.

 

meteos review          meteos review

 

Incredibly enough there’s an actual “story” behind Meteos, which I won’t spoil for anyone but it does involve an irate planet that has filled the galaxy with deadly rocks that threaten to wipe out all life.  The general challenge of Meteos is lining up like-colored “rocks” in vertical or horizontal lines.  Doing so ignites the rocks and sends the whole thing skyward – it’s explained in the backstory.  However if there are too many rocks weighing it down, only the top few rocks are likely to be destroyed – sent back into space – fortunately as the assembly of intact rocks 

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descends further lines can be connected igniting more rocks.  The point is to keep the screen as clear as possible.  But like Dr. Mario and Tetris the speed at which the rocks descend gradually increases and the playing fields continue to change.  This is where the frantic scrambling comes into play.  However, even with frantic scrambling, Meteos is surprisingly fun to play.

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Meteos is played exclusively with the touchscreen – okay, you can use the D-pad, but why? – and the only way to line up rocks is by dragging them vertically with the stylus.  Not being able to drag the rocks laterally is a little constricting at first but it pushes the gamer to think horizontally while playing vertically.  (If that doesn’t make sense, go lie down.) Aside from this minor annoyance there’s not much to quibble over.

 

There are several modes of play including the basic single-player game where the gamer has to “save” a series of planets from various Meteos threats – basically there’s a quota for the various colors – and a challenge mode where it’s all about the highscore (or Classic Classic as I like to call it).  In this mode and others, all manner of stats are tracked and recorded for your edification and to unlock a big roster of extras. (If it sounds a little like Lumines, well, same developer.)

 

The straightforward gameplay approach extends to Meteos’s graphical style and music, with not much in the way of whiz-bang but because of the gameplay, gamers shouldn’t feel cheated.

 

Multiplayer is also included.  In a sign of things to come, the Meteos demo can be downloaded wirelessly to other DS units.  It’s a bit of marketing genius that will cater to DS owners looking to try before they buy.  Even with just a quick download up to three other people can play around with a limited set of planets.  If the other players own a copy of Meteos it’s open season on some extremely intense and potentially frustrating multiplayer.  (Most of that depends on how quickly you can bury your opponents or how quickly your opponents bury you.)

 

 The DS isn’t lacking when it comes to puzzle games but if you were disappointed with the puzzling of Mr. Driller Drill Spirits or Yoshi Touch & Go, Meteos firmly supplants both as the premier puzzle game available on the DS.

 

- Omni

(July 13, 2005)

 

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