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    Sparrow's Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS)

    [January 7, 2006 01:31:36 AM]
    I'd have posted this earlier but for the fact that I was too involved in playing the game to blog about it.

    In short, this game is absolute genius. Even if you don't normally like rhythm games, or can't read Japanese, or both, it's pretty damn amazing.

    The premise behind the game is that there's a squad of male cheerleaders (which are far more common in Japan than in the West) who go around Tokyo helping people in trouble. When someone yells for help, they show up and do a song-and-dance routine to motivate the unfortunate individual.

    This is where the player comes in. The game is kind of a mix of a rhythm game and Virtua Cop - if that makes any sense - in that the player has to tap "targets" on the screen to the beat of the music. It sounds straightforward at first, but can get pretty hectic. As the beats are tapped out (with cymbal and whistle effects), the Ouendan go through their routine in the background of the lower screen, while the upper screen shows how the motivate-ee is doing. Naturally, there is a life bar (representing the morale of your client), and if it runs out, the game is over. The way in which the stylus and touch-screen are used lends the game a very tactile feel, unlike similar games like Amplitude.

    The real genius of Ouendan is in the way that it meshes a layer of narrative with the standard rhythm-game format. Each song corresponds to a particular client and their own little mini-story, which can range from mundane (helping a student pass his university entrance exam) to wacky (helping a pair of slacker cops defeat an invasion of alien robots) to all-out bizarre (travelling in time back to ancient Egypt to help Cleopatra go on a diet). The visuals look like they could have been pulled straight from a retro manga, only with colour, and the comic-book style makes the stories immediately obvious even if you don't understand Japanese.

    The difficulty curve of the game is pretty near perfect; I'm not good at rhythm games, and yet the game managed to guide me all the way to finishing the last level on the highest difficulty setting. There's a slight caveat: the last level on each difficulty setting is significantly harder than the rest of the levels, so be prepared for a bit of pain if you're not great at rhythm games. Still, it's engaging enough that you WILL want to finish the whole thing.

    If you can't stand J-rock or wacky stuff, the game may not appeal as much to you, but I found it to be amazing. This is probably the best game I played in 2005, and may well gain that honour for 2006 as well.

    Three minor flaws do exist. First, it's almost impossible to see the little animations which play in the upper screen during gameplay, as one's attention is fully occupied by the lower screen. Second, the game only has about 15 songs, each with 4 difficulty levels, so it's relatively short. It is, however, worth coming back to, both to better your score as well as because it's simply great fun. Finally, at times some of the icons on the touchscreen may be obscured by the player's own hand. Using a longer stylus or some similar implement is one way to work around this problem, although practicing the song will often allow you to predict when those beats appear and shift your hand to compensate.

    To see a gameplay video in Flash (note: this is on Hard difficulty; Normal isn't nearly as tough), head to and click the red button at the bottom.

    Summary: I can't recommend this game highly enough. It could well be the most fun I've ever had with my DS.
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    Sparrow's Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS)

    Current Status: Played occasionally

    GameLog started on: Saturday 7 January, 2006

    Sparrow's opinion and rating for this game

    Possibly the best rhythm game I've played.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See Sparrow's page

    See info on Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS) by jp (rating: 5)
    2 : Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS) by nediaz (rating: 5)
    3 : Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS) by Pango okay (rating: 5)
    4 : Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS) by Test (rating: 5)


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