the annals of videogames, the words "budget title" are the equivalent
to the Hollywood B-picture: cheap, low-grade, instantly disposable.
Well, kids, there are times when it's wiser to ignore popular
sentiment, and this is one of them.
knows Bust-a-Move has been played to death on every conceivable
platform, and bears responsibility for spawning a whole sub-genre
of cheap kick-the-jewel puzzle games that have made video arcades
(what few are still left in the West) unbearable. It's one of
those no-brainer games, something that's cheap and probably sells
just enough to warrant another knock-off somewhere down the line.
All that matters is that this was probably the last novel puzzler
to appear until Q Entertainment finally revived the genre last
year with Meteos and Lumines.
imagine, despite all my misgivings, not only grabbing Bust-a-Move
DS, but enjoying the hell out of it. Really digging it. Go figure
that one out, kids.
the DS touch screen isn't the best thing to happen to puzzle
games since Tetris, I don't know what is. It's just that simple
change, that instant and fluid control that the ancient d-pad
cannot provide. Meteos became a modern classic because of the
touch screen; Zoo Keeper - a damned freeware game, of all things
- achieved a new level of addiction (at least until "Quest
Mode" destroyed everything); now Bust-a-Move sweeps in, and is
a world of difference between pressing left or right to aim a
cannon just right; it's another thing entirely to stretch and
drag with the stylus. It's all a matter of control, of having
it. This is a game that is dependent on achieving different kinds
of trick shots, a little like billiards, a little like marbles.
For the first time, I actually feel empowered. I feel as if I
actually can make that impossible shot.
game's structure is different, focused largely on solving set
puzzle patterns, in sets of ten. There are 25 levels to plough
through, and then another 25 after that. They do become more
challenging, but I've never felt overwhelmed. If anything, the
levels are structured so that one especially tough board - where
you literally have to shoot your way through a screenful of marbles
- is sandwiched by a couple boards that can be brought down with
a single skilled shot. Some boards emphasize speed, others dexterity;
here's where having a stylus in hand makes a whole world of difference.
addition to the main puzzle mode, an endless mode is available,
which works if you need your arcade kicks and just want to see
how long you can hold out against the inevitable. Five players
can compete against one another with a single game card, which
really makes the game cheap. Get everyone to shell out four bucks,
and you're set. You've got yourselves one heckuva drinking game
on your hands.
what else is there to recommend? The graphics are bright and
colorful, and the music is catchy as hell. There's a high score
table somewhere, but it's dribbled out, line by line, during
the attract mode. Apparantly for a decent score table, you'd
have to pay full price. Fair enough.