I was psyched for a handful of recent DS releases but then the reviews came. Yes, reviews aren’t gospel, but they aren’t as worthless as fanboys would like you to believe (for an interesting case study on the power of denial, visit the Sega forums). These once promising DS games now look significantly less promising.
The first of the bunch is Children of Mana. I don’t know why I expected anything from this game after Legend of Mana sucked so hard. Perhaps it’s the small hope I still carry that one day there will be another game in the series as good as Secret of Mana. Most reviewers describe the game as a “slow,” or “boring,” dungeon crawl with barely any plot. It’s possible the action RPGs of my youth that I hold so dearly had the same shortcomings, but I am no longer 12. I expect more.
Magical Starsign also looked very nice. Until I read that it was shallow, plotless and had bad stylus controls. As far as obscure Japanese series to bring to the States, this one seems like it was a bad choice. I’d rather have had Mother 3 (along with some mediocre reviews of it) since at least that game seems historically important.
Most depressing of the group of DS games I anticipated is Touch Detectives. Developer BeeWorks could have inspired more DS adventure titles had they pulled off Touch Detectives well. The reviews for this one were pretty scathing. The graphic style is great, but not much else. Perhaps the worst criticism for an adventure game was lobbied against this on – the puzzles are confusing and make little to no sense. It’s very hard to enjoy an adventure title that has you randomly guessing what to do where so it looks like Touch Detectives is a game I’ll have to pass on.
Contact got mildly better write ups than the rest of the games on the list and based on what reviewers actually said, I will enjoy the game. It’s a shame Marvelous Interactive didn’t make gameplay that lived up to the title’s offbeat charm. Still, I eat creativity up and will be getting this one.
The only DS games left to be excited about before the new year seem to be Final Fantasy 3 and the new Castlevania. Still, one is a remake of a 16 year old game and the other is likely a retread of worn out territory. Rocket Slime is currently occupying my interest, but Nintendo needs to get their stuff together if they want me to continue to spread the good news about the DS.