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Game Profile
Q Entertainment
GENRE: Puzzle
June 27, 2005
Meteos: Disney Magic

 Written by Dave Hulick  on July 12, 2005

Review: Saving the galaxy one stroke of a stylus at a time.

Since the launch of the DS, many gamers have complained that the system's library was littered with poor Nintendo 64 ports and glorified tech demos. While this is a matter of opinion, there is no denying that few original DS titles have been very deep and that even fewer offer anything to keep gamers occupied after completing the main portion of the game. Enter Meteos, the second title from Q Entertainment. Produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Lumines, Rez, Space Channel 5) and designed by Masahiro Sakurai (Super Smash Brothers), Meteos has been highly anticipated by DS owners in the past few months.

The premise behind Meteos is familiar, yet original. Different colored blocks (called Meteos) fall from the sky and players need to line these blocks up to create rockets to launch them back into space. When 3 Meteos of the same color are lined up, they transform into rockets and launch upward into space carrying all of the blocks above them into the air. Players can create huge combos by lining up more than 3 Meteos at once, or by creating another combo on a Rocket that doesn't quite have the power to make it to the top of the bin. As you may have guessed, the game ends when a column of Meteos reaches the top of the screen and isn't currently on a launched rocket.

Each stage (Planet) of Meteos has varying physics and gravity, both of which affect how far a Rocket is shot up and how fast blocks fall back down to the bottom. This adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay and greatly increases the game's depth. You can unlock new Planets by "fusing" them together using Meteos you have launched. In fact, the fusion aspect of Meteos is perhaps the greatest part. Every single Meteo you launch is saved in a bank of sorts, and you can spend them to fuse together new items, planets, music, or rare Meteos. The game is full of neat little stats and counters that keep track of everything from the grand total of Meteos you've launched to how many times you've powered up your DS with Meteos in it. Not only is Meteos one of the first DS games to have such depth to it, it's one of the first puzzle games I've ever played to feature such an extensive number of unlockable items.

Meteos requires very precise and swift control in order to be mastered. The game offers the option to use either the d-pad or the stylus, and quite expectantly the stylus works much better. Playing the game with the d-pad is so hopeless, it feels like the developers just put the option in there to demonstrate the how useful the stylus really is. Touch screen recognition is top-notch and I've yet to see the game misinterpret a touch of mine. As the game gets faster, however, I often find myself sliding the wrong Meteo. Fortunately, this never felt like a problem with the game but rather the result of my own panic. While I wish the individual blocks were slightly larger, I must admit that the control is about as good as it can get.

Mizuguchi's first title, Lumines, was very well received primarily because of it's excellent presentation. While Meteos isn't quite as flashy as Lumines, it can certainly hold it's own among other DS puzzlers. Every planet has a different backdrop and different style Meteos, and the visuals are very colorful and varied. One of the more interesting things to note is that there isn't any music playing in the background during gameplay, but rather some sort of background beat and bass line. As you line up Meteos and create combos, a different musical sound effect plays, creating the melody to the music. This is very original and enjoyable, and greatly adds to the already lively presentation.

Bottom Line
Meteos is a very fresh title that adds a lot to the stagnating library of "tech demo" games in the DS' library. With an out-of-this-world presentation, lively graphics, and very few faults, Meteos is undeniably the best game available for the DS thus far. A must-buy for every DS owner, whether you're a puzzle fan or not. Highly recommended.

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