I've enjoyed playing this, there's a certain amount of relaxation in match 3 games that I often find soothing. The back of the box says that there are 100 levels - and I got to about 35 or so? The game's structure is interesting, if a bit grindy...
Essentially when you match three you get some resources (of whatever was matched) and once you have enough resources you can buy a buildings - there are 4 buildings to an era - buildings unlock either a new type of resource (that when matching adds more to the basic three resources in the game money/materials/food) OR you can unlock a powerup. To use powerups you need to match the powerup on the board and build up a meter...
I played my way until I'd unlocked 3 powerups - a hammer ("match" one tile and remove it from the board), lightning (20 matches, but randomly) and bomb (9 matches in a 3x3 grid).
Curiously the games' levels refer to the outside layout of the level - so, the shape of the board (including holes/missing pieces) and the location of the special tiles you might need to clear (change the color of the background by getting match on top of it). But, the game's level number does not refer to the types of pieces or the powerup available. There's only ever one powerup active (that you can build up the meter) - but if you fail a level (run out of time) and try it again, you might get a different power up active! (the bomb is better than the hammer, so this can be a real benefit).
Also, you don't ever really clear a level (move on to the next numbered level) until you've accumulated enough resources to pay/unlock the next building...
I've picked up a bunch of mini-game collections for the DS, mostly because I wanted to look at some particular implementations of UI for some of the minigames. This collection is another one of the set....
It's literally what the box says - a collection of typical carnival games, all pretty well implemented, you earn tickets and then trade those in to customize your avatar. I don't think you can unlock more games?
Surprisingly, the game has a multiplayer option (2 players) with wireless play. I've seen this in a bunch of games now and I'm assuming that it was a nice feature for siblings? Given that these games are targeted (I think) to younger kids (so, late in the DS lifecycle), that a game that allowed people to play with younger/older sister/brother was a nice touch? I wonder how much that was really used or not.
Man, the more I've been looking at these kids games for the DS the more I wish there was more research on them - how are/were they actually played? Was the multiplayer wireless a desired/valued feature? Were these mini-game collections successful enough? I've assumed they were budget/cheaper - did kids really enjoy these? (OMG, so much value/fun here!)
Oooh, it's a movie-tie in cash grab game? Maybe...
I haven't seen the movie, but the story mode covers the basics pretty well. In the grand scheme of things I would describe this as a mario-Ping pong. So, there's some wacky powers and such. The controls are pretty good, you control the paddle with your stylus and the game isn't too fast such that sliding it around feels good. You can then add two types of spin (left/right) by pressing a button and there are also "power moves" that are special (non-realistic) moves you can do...well, each character has their own special power move and there are also power serves.
In all, it's pretty fun - I didn't bother getting all the way to the end (playing on easy), but surprisingly polished for what I assume was a budget title when it was released.
Oh, there's also a taunt action you can do (separate button press) - but I'm not sure what role it plays? THe manual says it covers your opponents screen for a split second, but I didn't notice that when taunts were used against me...and I didn't notice any effect when I used them against my opponents. A taunt basically plays an audio line from the movie, but as far as I could tell there's only one line per character so it gets old pretty fast. Perhaps the taunts only work when playing multiplayer? (again, surprised the game has this feature given what i imagine was its low budget).
Perhaps most impressive was that I looked at the credits (in the manual, not the ones in the game) and the game was made by what looks like a team of ten people (not including audio/music)! There are 5 artists credited, two programmers (one is the director of programming and the other is lead) a designer and a producer. There are 4 more people listed, but those seem like executive roles/titles rather than production (CEO, VP of biz dev, finance director and director of art design). I guess the last one might count as an artist on the team?
Still, this is pretty impressive I think for a title released in 2006. (makes me think of the size of our student teams and what they can/could accomplish)
I remember the first time someone showed me Snood and I wasn't impressed then. The art was ugly (IMO) and the game was a knock-off (again, IMO - for all I know it was the first?). Anyways, the person who showed it to me (on a PC, must have been early oughts?) really, really liked it and I never understood why.
I still don't.
And this version isn't all that much to write about. I started playing the world tour, beat the first level and the 2nd level is a puzzle level and I lost. Tried again, lost again (including all the continues), tried again, lost again. I eventually did clear it, but there was only more levels of the same game to go through.
The back of the box mentions new modes that are (apparently) interesting, novel or exciting. But I can't really be bothered to try them out.
What I did find interesting is how the menu layout is set up. The main menu has a bunch of options - the first one was World Tour. It turns out that's one of the different game modes - and to play a different game mode you have to go into a sub-menu, select a different game mode (e.g. puzzle) then go back out to the main menu to find that the new mode as at the top (replacing World Tour if that's what you had set up). It seems like a really bizarre interface choice and I've been wondering how it came to be - if you put all the modes on the main menu it's too long - and if you put all the modes inside a sub menu it's less "efficient" to get to playing (1 more step), so this was a compromise?