Itchy Thumbs

Completing games then reviewing them

Archive for April, 2006

Meteos

Posted by D on April 3, 2006

People ask me what the game I'm currently playing and I'm forced to mumble something and hope they go away. I have been afflicted, no, stricken with pronunciation affliction. What is this game I am playing? Is it Met-ee-os or Met-ee-ohs or Meet-ee-os? A casual glance at the box suggests it should be like "Meteor" so I'm currently going with Meaty-Os. Hmmm Meaty-Os.

New! Meaty-Os!

The delicious, chewy, meaty breakfast cereal. The only breakfast cereal with a Squish, Sizzle and Splat. Watch as the milk turns from red to brown.

Disdain!

For several months now I have been going into games shops and casting my eyes over the Meteos boxes with disdain. Who on earth would need yet a another falling block puzzle I thought. What more could you bring to the table outside of falling blocks and over stacked demise I thought. How wrong I was.

Revelation!

Finally I capitulated and purchased a copy of Meteos. Afterall, everyone else was going on and on about it and I'm weak like that. After a week of almost continuous play I am utterly captivated. What a fool I'd been. I should never have been so short sighted. Not until the next time will I pander to my prejudices so strongly.

Weirdness!

Initially Meteos seems like a fairly standard style falling block puzzle. Underpinning the game is some utterly ludicrous plot about an evil planet firing falling blocks (meteos) at other planets in order to destroy them. Quite how this works is anyone's guess but one thing is for sure having too large a stack of blocks will prove fatal. And this is where you come in.

Elegance!

Blocks fall from the sky, using the stylus you align blocks into triplets to fire them off the top of the screen, often back at an opponent. A simple and incredibly intuitive control system and a relatively straight forward task. Or is it? The core game objective is finessed in several ways; Incoming blocks impede the progress of the blocks you just fired, each level has a "gravity" that dictates the rate at which blocks fall and lastly each level seems to have an "atmospheric impedance" which controls how the blocks can escape the top of the screen.

On most levels once you've launched some blocks the gravity and atmosphere conspire against you, more blocks must be aligned or the original launchees will never escape. On other levels, once aligned, blocks just disappear like some 2-bit David Copperfield. In combination the 3 effects give rise to a range of subtle and clever level variants and substantially alter the tactics you must employ for each level. It all adds together to provide a depth and complexity of game play that the packaging certainly doesn't suggest.

Plethora!

There is an almost endless list of game types; against the clock, quickest launch, story modes, deluge, free play, controlled play, automated monkey 3-way, gibbous moon space rocket challenge and Tony Hart's pro-am celebrity hoedown to name but a few. Alongside this there are 5 levels of difficulty. In combination there is a vast amount of game to work through and that's before you've got anywhere near multiplayer modes. And lets not forget the unlockables. Well… Actually… Lets forget about them as they are a little dull. Another piece of music to unlock? How lucky am I?

Obsession!

Since I bought the game I've barely let the DS out of my hands. It is incredibly addicitve. So much so I'm slightly worried for the touch screen's durability and my sanity. The game combines a lovely, intuitive, tactile feel with an obsessive compulsive requirement to arrange tiny colourful squares. Who would have thought when Tetris was released that marshalling little coloured blocks could be so addictive.

But is there much longevity? Yes and No, er maybe. Yes there is a vast amount of gaming to be had here, it'll take you ages to work through. There is huge scope for becoming ridiculously skillful at this game. Those two things will keep you coming back for more. Yet there is also a No. Once I've completed everything on all levels of difficulty and unlocked that last planet I doubt I'll return to it, other than for the odd multiplayer game. With any luck though that time should be a fair way off.

Judgement

This is a fantastic game. An excellent addition to the falling block, clearing screen, puzzle game genre. If you haven't heard this repeatedly from everyone else then you must go forth immediately and purchase a copy. I would give this game:

8/10

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