Games: 6,650 | Reviews: 6,621 | Previews: 8,425 | News: 12,888 | Images: 196,233 | Videos: 13,034




Fun and easy, but a little bit hard.

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Great multiplayer"

Summary

Ninth Game of the Series, Decent Graphics for a DS,Great game to play with friends, though you have to level up pretty often because enemies - easy(though very lame puns for names), but bosses - hard. It is simple to follow through at times, but others you have to think, the basic fighting seems like a classic rpg, but yet easy and fun to use. Usually Spend 15 hrs. In actually game time to beat.(the time that you spend playing only when the game is on). Great for beginners, lots of weapons and items, good storyline, tendency to not give too much info away. Game = Thumbs up. The story line goes something like this - You start off as a celestrian in a small town. You are new at it, and still learning. There is a big tree you pray too, and soon it blossoms, but "supposedly" an earthquake happens and at the observatory and then next thing you know, you wake up and your wings and halo are gone. And I wont say anything else that spoils the story fore now. 10.0




Angelic fruit makes you toot

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Ambitious"

Summary

The Dragon Quest series has always had an back-and-forth relationship with scope. One game promises a grand, multi-generational epic with a story focused quest, while the next makes one of the most powerful skill and job systems in the genre. As the series bounces from each generation's most popular piece of hardware, the themes and feel of the games change and evolve, even if the core of the experience hasn't.

Dragon Quest IX exists to be the best portable role playing game ever made. You can feel it in every pore of its being. From the story quest that brings the player to continents and cities undiscovered, to the intense and practically infinite post-story content, the design echoes the game's purpose: to last. In many ways, it succeeds, and in a few it trips, but in the end it becomes largely what it set out to accomplish.

Dragon Quest IX started out as an online-focused game, with an action battle system and vast multiplayer capabilities. While this gave way to the standard turn based system the series is known for (due to the predictable player outrage) the game still betrays its in-development heritage with excellent improvements to the Dragon Quest formula. Additions such as local (not internet-based) multiplayer, numerous optional quests (organized by a simple menu system), higher-level randomized dungeons, achievements, weapons and armor that appear on player models, and above all, the ability to see monsters on the field as opposed to the random triggered encounters of the past. These small changes make the ever-powerful Dragon Quest framework feel even more solid.

Where the game stalls is in the speed of the battles that, while not as slow as the molasses in Dragon Quest VIII on the PlayStation 2, still manage to get tiresome. Without an option to turn off the animations, the game's barely PlayStation 1 level polygonal blobs whack at each other with far too many pauses, animations, and graphical flourishes. Sure, the game looks excellent for the DS, but considering the game's pick-up-and-play system and even design, making the battles as slow as they are is kind of an odd choice.

However, the overall pace of the game is still speedier than most RPG's, and at times it feels like Chrono Trigger's breakneck flight. Small stories pepper the landscape of Dragon Quest IX's world, each with a multi-level cave or tower and a boss fight to accompany it. These are acceptable stories told with simplicity and short, well-shot scenes, never overstaying their welcome or overdoing it with too much melodrama or exposition. Additionally, the quests tend to be of a non-linear sort, barely giving the player the location of said target. While the predictability sets in early, it's well designed and open enough that it never becomes routine.

Love it or hate it, Dragon Quest IX's overarching story is piecemeal and thin. I happen to love it: the themes are established and then touched on briefly, and the player is left to their own devices. Due to the nature of the plot angel guardians helping villagers to save their world the sub-stories tie into the main plot much more smoothly than in past series' attempts. This makes the main story seem less important, which in the course of a long handheld role playing game is definitely a good thing.

No, the game's only other major flaw is the slowdown, which shows that while the game is fantastic for a DS game, it is finding a bit of a roadblock here or there. Sure, some of the vistas and landscapes are simply beautiful for any system due to excellent art management. But the decision to have your entire four-person party travel on practically every scrap of land you explores means that the polygon limit for the engine is reaches quickly, mostly in busy towns. The game can slow down to twenty frames per second or less, which is barely acceptable even by Nintendo 64 standards.

But ignoring these flaws, the game accomplishes everything it sets out to do, with more content at-launch than any other portable RPG known to date. The main quest offers a nice relaxing pace at about thirty hours of adventure, but the post-game content is vast and challenging. Hundreds of hours of content await the Dragon Quest fan. Seeing how long the newest installment is taking to be released, perhaps they are simply making sure everyone has enough time to finish. It's baffling how much content is crammed into a single DS cart. And besides that, extra quests and items can be downloaded through the DS Wi-Fi service, though you're not really missing much if the service ever goes down or you don't have the capability.

What's truly clear is just how well these improvements help the franchise. These tweaks and revisions seem like scraps of modern game design finally trickling down to the dinosaur, but it's the implementation that's key here. It's so well executed and so friendly to even the most jaded of role playing players that it's hard not to agree: it really does make for a heck of a portable adventure.




The game of the decade, it will keep you for hours.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Masterpiece"

Summary

Never played a dragon quest game? Well you should start now. I bought this game and have currently played it for over 250 hours. It is well worth the money. For those who have never played a dragon quest game, the whole entire series is based on you, the hero, who fights off evil that threatens to take over the world. Stereotypical. In this installment you get to create a character from scratch. You can either make it look like you or a crazy, messed up weirdo. You also eventually get to create teammates who can help out. There are 12 different classes that you can switch between after reaching certain points of the story and undertaking certain quests. Each class has different traits which make them useful. The story line is immense, covering roughly 80 hours, at which point you can go through multiple grottoes and undertake over 100 separate quests. Buy this game. NOW




Pushmo is a smartly designed puzzle game that offers far more value than its asking price.

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Innovative"

Summary

Have you ever played a game that's so simple in its design, yet it's brilliant and original? That's exactly what Pushmo is. Pushmo is an eShop puzzle game by Intelligent Systems, makers of the fine Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, and Paper Mario series, among other titles. In the game, you're tasked with rescuing little children from a set of blocks called Pushmo. The Pushmo appear as flat objects, but they are in fact 3D shapes; by pulling out these shapes, you create platforms that assist you in reaching your destination. What was once a block puzzle ends up becoming a simple platformer, and vice versa; it's this back-and-forth that makes Pushmo so unique and compelling. The idea of pushing and pulling blocks is such a simple concept, but the implementation is mind-blowing.

Pushmo boasts 250 levels, so you'll be kept busy for quite a while. As you progress through the game, you'll be introduced to new features that make the puzzles even more complex-and more entertaining. The levels you encounter will consist of all sorts of shapes and sizes, including those based on the real world. Being a Nintendo game, you can expect to see some familiar characters in the form of puzzles. The stereoscopic 3D is used to great effect because it helps you to judge distances and block depth (very important!). Even if you turn off the 3D, you're still in good hands since the block depth is colour-coded. Either way, you will be able to tell immediately if a block can be pulled or pushed some more. The best kinds of puzzles are the ones that have multiple solutions, and Pushmo has them in spades.

So, Pushmo already sounds like a fun game, right? But I haven't even gotten to the best part: you can create your own levels. They could have stopped at the 250 levels and called it a day, but when you're given the ability to create your own Pushmo and share them over the Internet, well...the replay value is virtually endless. The level editor, called Pushmo Studio, is as simple and brilliant as the game itself. Basically, anything you draw becomes a level. You don't even have to be an artist to make something recognizable; scribbling something on a whim could be a legitimately challenging level. Once your masterpiece is finished, you must play and complete the level before you can create a QR code and upload it to the Internet. This ensures that any level created by you or someone else can be completed, no matter how complex it may look. You are your own quality control!

At $6.99, Pushmo offers a lot of value with its numerous levels, but the inclusion of an elegant level editor makes the game a steal. I would easily have paid double for a game like this, but at its current price, Pushmo is a must-own, no excuses. Pushmo is a textbook example of the kinds of games a developer could make when they're given creative freedom without fear of breaking the bank.




A simple and very addictive puzzle game, and maybe the best 3DS downloadable title yet.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Highly addictive"

Summary

Pushmo is a simple premise -- push and pull different shaped blocks to climb high enough to free a child at the top of the sculpture. No timers. No bonuses for minimal moves. Just simple puzzling, but it's addictive. Despite the simple game mechanics, the puzzles can get pretty devious -- often, the solution is very simple and elegant, but the puzzles are set up to where you will want to overthink the solution... evil!

Yes, it's very simple, but it's just very well done -- your character is well animated, objects are colorful, but nothing is overdone. The music and sound effects are minimal, but just right. There are plenty of levels -- playing through all of them will take you around 15 hours or so, depending on how quickly you perform them, and there's just enough variety in puzzle layouts to keep you coming back.

Never have I had so little to say about a game, and yet... it's fun!

Probably the best downloadable 3DS exclusive yet in the Nintendo Shop.
8.5

Superb
9.0