Shin

Puzzle Quest – Challenge of the Warlords

Puzzle Quest - Challenge of the Warlords

Console: Nintendo DS
Developer: 1st Playable Productions / Infinite Interactive
No. of Players: 1 – 2 (Multi-player Wireless Connection)
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: March 16, 2007 (Europe), March 20, 2008 (U.S.)
Rating: E/+10

Story

Some say that the universe moves in several cycles. A cycle of death, a cycle of war and and cycle of peace. If that is true, the Agarian Empire has known of the cycle of peace for too long. It is time for the next cycle to begin. You are the Empire’s only hope to see through the next cycles and bring peace once again. Begin your heroic journey as a druid, knight, warrior or wizard to battle monsters.

Presentation – 8/10

For a game that is commonly known as Bejeweled, the Japanese have really outdone themselves by stirring in of a bit of RPG.
The dialogue was much like that of ‘ye olde’ times. You have optional choices on how you will finish some of your quests, much like that of an multi-linear RPG. Side quests and the story line could leave you playing for hours if it weren’t for the fact that this is Bejeweled in disguise. Depending on your difficulty setting, you spend 95% of the time matching and combining gems. With most role playing games I like to play, I prefer having a little more story than that.

Sound – 7/10

Epic on many scales but the DS speakers, like always, let you down. It’s like listening to your favourite band
(to be cool I should say Iron Maiden but my first cassette was Spice World) on your very first cassette player while you’re out on a jog. You come back home and then pop the same album in cd form into your component system and realize that ‘oomph’ you were missing. The sound of this game is exactly like that. Still good on the DS but even better if you were to play it on a different console that requires a television.

Control – 9/10

Unless you have steady and thin fingers, this game functions best and mainly operates with the stylus. It became frustrating at times when pinpoint precision was key to jewel swapping. It could be seen as either good or bad thing that the screen is more sensitive than normal to your stylus’ touch. At times, it was a bad thing when you would make an illegal move – where your combination of jewels or skulls in a pair of three to five was off – that you didn’t mean to make at all. That being said and for future reference do not drink any caffeine or be half asleep while playing. Other than that irritation, a nine out of ten score seemed reasonable.

Gameplay – 9/10

When I first played ‘Bejeweled’ on the computer it was love at first sight. Rather, once I learned how to play it, I grew a gradual appreciation for it. Combining a game I was very skilled at with my favourite genre (RPG) was a match made in heaven.
However that heaven didn’t last long as I sometimes battled the same monster for up to three hours. Fortunately for me, I found that you could easily switch from Normal to Easy any time you wanted. This could be seen as something done for the ‘dumbed down’ generation of gamers but say that to me after what I’ve been through.

Graphics – 9.5/10

For a two dimensional platform with the ever so popular anime stylized art, this nearly receives and A+ from me. I knocked it down a half point because in my own sick and twisted way, I would have liked to have seen more animation.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates


Console: Nintendo DS
Developer: Square Enix
No. of Players: 1- 4 (Multi-player Wireless Connection)
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: March 21, 2008 (Europe), March 11, 2008 (U.S.), August 23, 2007 (Japan)
Rating: E/+10 – Fantasy Violence

Story

In a small quaint village of the Veo Lu Highlands lived various members of tribes in harmony. A bird-like yuke, a sweetly childish alchemist of Lilty and a devoted father of two twins named Yuri and Chelinka. Together, the twins wielded an mysterious and binding power that their father taught them to harness. One dreadful night, when the moon rose a blood red, their serene lifestyle was torn a part. The story truly begins here as the brave young twins venture out to seek answers and justice.

Presentation – 8/10

I would love to say that the story was genuinely fulfulling but my palette was left with dull colours by the time I reached the end of the game. One could argue and say the need for ‘more’ meant that it was presented well but I think my need for ‘more’ was mostly on the notion that I had been spoiled by previous Final Fantasy games in sense of quantity and an in depth story line. I was stunned by the 3D CG but there weren’t as many villages or other places to visit as I would’ve liked.

Sound – 9.5/10

Close your eyes and think of the adjective ethereous. The opening main screen theme was magical and midst playing the sound and music set the mood. It was very well done and I honestly haven’t anything bad to say about it. There wasn’t a recognizable song or theme to tell you ‘this is Final Fantasy – Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates’. It was more like the subtle fluidity of Final Fantasy’s origins. Back in those days, the franchise didn’t need a pre-eminent song due to its masterful gameplay.

Control – 7/10

While adventuring, you have the advantage of toogling from one party member to the next depending on the obstacle or boss difficulty. While most of the time this could be seen as a good thing, it became increasingly frustrating when my other AI party members were unresponsive during battle or when I would try to reach a hard to get treasure chest. Other than that, the control options were smooth and easy to pick up.

Gameplay – 8/10

There are two modes to choose from – Story Mode and Multiplay Mode. Story Mode is only for single playing. You can toggle from one character to the next as you fight your way onto the next adventure. In Multiplay Mode you and up to four other people are able to create your own character. There are many different ways to play in this mode. There is also a side mode called Moogles, where you can receive Moogle Stamps, paint your own Moogle and trade moogles between friends. The gameplay is also much like FFX-2 where it becomes a hack’em ‘n slash’em thing. For those who enjoy that type of RPG play instead of the strategical turn waiting, it meets nearly all your expectations.

Graphics – 8.5/10

The CG is absolutely staggering. Over the years, Final Fantasy has dabbled with several different artistic representations of their games. Crystal Chronicles likens itself most to FFIX in the sense of an almost childlike/cartoony approach. The cutscenes are short and for the sake of the story I would have enjoyed more of them.

Final Score – 8.2

Crystal Chronicles was fun and hard to put down once I got into the game. There were a few things that upset me but even with those frustrations I would still say it’s a game to look into. I still have yet to enjoy it’s said vast wonders of Multiplayer.

Diddy Kong Racing DS

Bomberman Land Touch!

Nintendogs – Dalmatian & Friends

Bleach – The Blade of Fate

Mario Party DS

Mario Kart DS

Advance Wars – Dual Strike

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.