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Nintendo DS Review: System Flaw

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This arcade-style first-person shooter offers a unique Nintendo DSi exclusive gaming experience.  With luck, this reasonably priced game ($29.99) might start a new trend for NDSi game capabilities.

Storm City developers have used the outer Nintendo DSi camera lens for the game backdrop then populate what the camera sees with moving targets and creatures. Players move the NDSi camera and hit the L or R button to shoot. Voila! Motion sensing melee ensues.

The game recommends open spaced areas, which also save some eye fatigue. It's not ideal for travel, but one can play in a swivel chair if their legs get tired. Most action requires the stylus touch interface and occasionally the buttons.

The storyline supplements the main appeal as players are “recruited” to battle invading microscopic creatures. Players battle amid bystanders oblivious to the conflict, but those around the player may suspect everything is not completely normal as bystanders watch the player swing an NDSi erratically all around the room.

Within the game, players are warned to protect other humans from knowledge of what is taking place and told the creatures (10 different types) can “take control of any electronic device or human mind.” Obviously, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, certainly a good thing.

It’s futile to resist the urge to interact with real items. It is just too bad that there is no snapshot option during gameplay, it could have been a great addition.

Though one can pan 360 degrees, there is no ability within the game to zoom in or out.   There are motion sound effects as one pans and which go silent when players are still.  The concave heads-up display (HUD) on the top screen includes an enemy radar plus weapon and health meters. The HUD flashes red on the edges when health reduces.

Players can enter three modes: patrol (100 plus missions), survival (based on time limits), or the informative “flawpedia” which updates as players progress. In the flawpedia, the simple user manual visuals help but those without a large vocabulary may have trouble with some words that appear in it.

Weapons include a single- and double-shot laser, bombs, and a wave-like blaster. Players earn points, upgrades, and bonus canisters amid the standard easy, normal, and hard difficulty levels. Challenges predictably increase with the growing number of enemies, but the three extensive, unique, boss sections create some memorable moments.

This game delivers on entertainment with a solid application incorporating the NDSi camera. Hopefully more NDSi games like this one will create a new wave of innovative entertainment to compliment DSiWare downloads.

System Flaw is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for fantasy violence.


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