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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
GENRE: Action
September 25, 2007
 Written by Matt Swider  on October 18, 2007

Review: Wii's Lair

Dewy's Adventure is another Wii-exclusive game from Konami that tries to use the system's motion controls in a meaningful way. This time, the team behind Elebits makes players hold the remote sideways like a normal controller and slide a water droplet character named Dewy across platforms. Unfortunately, tilting the remote in all different directions often sends this droplet to his watery grave. The unresponsive controls, while innovative, are going to turn off all but the most persistent young players. That's a shame because Dewy's Adventure is far too cute for anyone else to give it a chance.

If you remember the company's launch title Elebits, you have an idea of the colorful presentation delivered in Dewy's Adventure. This game's always-cheery star slides through levels with a smile on his face and playful sounds to go along with every movement. So, while the uninteresting story may involve defeating the black rain, there's nothing dark or sinister about this game's design. Many would call this a general audience game, but it's better classified as a younger audience game.

Behind the layers of pastel colors are some fun and innovative puzzle mechanics that anyone can find appealing. Players can use up and down on the D-Pad to raise and lower Dewy's temperature in addition to tilting the Wii remote to slide. This clever gameplay element turns Dewy into either ice or mist and the entire environment around him freezes up or swelters in heat. He can spin attack enemies as an ice shard or zap them with lighting as a floating cloud. Motion-controlled earthquake and wind-blowing moves join the temperature-based ones; shake the remote left and right to cause the ground to shake or shake side to side to initiate a gust of wind.

More interesting than any attack, though, is the way in which the environment changes when adjusting the temperature. A great example is when dangerous bodies of water freeze over, sometimes building a bridge to a previously inaccessible part of a level. If you happen to fall off of that bridge onto the sheet of ice below, find a nearby lily pad and raise the temperature. Doing this causes the ice to melt and the water and lily to rise, getting you back to the start of where you can ice up that bridge again.

Dewy's Adventure is full of well-designed puzzles and temperature-based boss weak spots like a good Mario platform game. But, Nintendo would never let its star mascot fall off of platforms so much. Whether I died because the controls weren't as tight as they should be or the stationary camera lacked depth perception, my frustration and enjoyment level of this adventure would rise and fall much like Dewy's temperature level. Added to that aggravation were the times that I felt unprepared for the mini-bosses. After saving a lot of NPCs from harm's way and losing most of my life, mid-level bosses would do me in. Not only was I forced to start the level all over again, I began without everything I spent time collecting. Again, Nintendo would let a flaw like that ruin an otherwise entertaining game.

The last point of ire with Dewy's Adventure is the message it tried to promote. No, I'm not talking about a hidden global warming agenda? although Dewy's wide face may secretly be Al Gore's mug designed to sublimely get you to conserve water. But the real issue is the game's load screens featuring blatant in-game advertisements for a brand of bottled water. Sure, studies have shown that gamers enjoy in-game advertising in NASCAR games and along the walls of sports arenas in football titles and so forth. Even a third-person shooter in which the character's crime-filled city features a broken Coke machine is okay. But, please, not a cute and colorful game with a simple design; there's just no context for something like that.

Bottom Line
Sliding through the levels of Dewy's Adventure and icing up or melting areas to reach the end made the game feel like it could be an interesting platformer. I could look the other way when it came to the overly cute graphics and sounds emanating from my Wii. However, the unresponsive controls and frustrating health system started to interfere with the amount of fun I had with the game. I just can't imagine how a youngster without all of my adult patience would feel playing this game thinking it's the one to get while waiting for a Mario title. Make no mistake: this is not Super Mario Galaxy; it's more like Wii's Lair.

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