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Game Profile
Ghostfire Games
GENRE: Music
PLAYERS:   1-2
August 25, 2008
 Written by Patrick Mulhern  on September 04, 2008

Reviews: David is just mad because he can't dance.

Helix (WiiWare) Review

Helix hit Nintendo's WiiWare during last Monday's update and just so happened to be the highlight of Nintendo's Wii-kly addition.? The casual rhythm title is Austin-based Ghostfire Games' freshman entry into the market, and proves to be a decent start for the company.? Ghostfire designed a title that rolls Simon's memory skills into a ball and crushes it into a pile of DDR inspired movements - with your arms.

As David mentions, there are certainly rough areas that need to be smoothed out.? Being a rhythm game, the title's track list is of the utmost importance and Ghostfire did not really diversify the choices.? I would expect this kind of track list from a European developer but being American, I don't see why Ghostfire was so hooked on the booming electronica genre.? The gameplay mechanics - copying on-screen movements of a robot - could be applied to any music genre, from reggae, gangsta rap or screamo.?

The user interface and menus are as simple as the rest of the title.

Ghostfire admits that they had some issues keeping the game below the 40MB limit.? Even though the songs may not be that intriguing, they still managed to pack 26 songs into that low limit using compression.? However, the rest of the game took a hit.? The graphics and even the user interface are incredibly basic.? The background to the dancing robot is simply an audio effect that any MP3 player can perform.? So props on fitting in that many songs, but I would have rather have had a few less songs and been given a better visual experience.

Truly, Ghostfire focused on Helix's gameplay more than anything else.? The idea comes off as one of those "god, why didn't I think of that" for its simplicity, yet the mechanic is still original.? The motions takes some getting used to - I kept failing on the uppercuts - but they are also a bit forgiving.? Should you have your hands rotated in one fashion for a punch, and then turned a different way for the next punch, Helix will actually ignore the "error" so long as it is still the correct punch.? I can imagine how frustrating the title would be if hadn't thought of that.?

If you do feel that the game is "cheating" you then head over to the calibration section to tell the game how you do each move.? After that, the game will adapt - within reason - to the way you feel the moves should be done.? Like most Wii titles, due to the simplicity of the WiiMote's sensors, all movements can be faked by quick snaps of the risk.? But that isn't on Ghostfire, or Helix. But there is also a flip side to this. Many of the 30 movements are similar enough that doing something wrong, will actually get marked as right. Not that this matters on the hard difficulty much. Once you graduate to hard - easy is a joke, start on medium - get ready for three or more movements a second.

The screenshots really aren't that exciting are they?

Bottom Line
Ghostfire jumped into the development scene with an original idea that they pulled into a fun, but bare-bones package.? There are numerous design mechanics that I can think of that could have taken the game further.? A more diverse selection of music would be my number one recommendation.? Heck, Ghostfire could probably repackage their current game with new tracks fairly easily.? Helix Hip-hop, Helix Rock, Helix Techno, all could be created without much more work.? Kept at a budget price, the track packs could probably push some numbers.? Full multiplayer, and by that I mean using four WiiMotes instead of their interpretation.?

In my opinion Ghostfire made a solid first effort and will hopefully take the game one step further.? Helix as it stands is fun but a bit lacking.? A full Wii release featuring the noted additions as well as improved graphics, Wii Balance Board and Wii MotionPlus support would be a welcomed title for the casual and hardcore alike.? Get it in at a budget price of $30 and the larger market would probably eat it up.? Still, with the weakness of WiiWare titles and the low price of $10, Helix is one of the best titles to grace WiiWare to date.

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