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Nintendo DS Review: Travel Games for Dummies

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Travel Games for Dummies features several levels containing sudoku, crosswords and solitaire, all of which except crosswords are available separately on the PC (Brain Training and Poker also available). Each game is familiar in general, but the types will be new to most players. For example, the solitaire game types include Klondike (the standard mostly known by appearance, not name), paramount, scorpion, penguin, Monte Carlo, golf and accordion.

The written guidance for “Dummies” does not overshadow the game play or content. Tutorials (none longer than 10 pages) constitute the expected learning edge from the “Dummies” brand. The color schemes work well (don’t worry, you won’t see too much yellow everywhere) and don’t strain the eyes too much, though the text could be larger. Players get more visual help during game play as each game set has a how to, practice and play mode.

The how-to mode contains tutorials and tips while the practice mode has plentiful hints and extra clues. In the play mode, high scores are tracked and automatically saved when players switch between puzzles or start a new one.

The sudoku mode lets you pencil in numbered guesses to use as a visual reference. The five difficulty levels range from very easy to very hard. Players also have the option of selecting exclusively with the A button and directional pad.

The crosswords mode includes a clue bonus when you select the correct letter box (visually represented by an exclamation point). Players can get up to three bonus glues but only one is available in each puzzle. Players get several different categories to choose from in easy, medium and hard difficulties. Practice categories include baby stuff, holidays, toys and games, TV couples and toon friends.

Maneuvering through this mode takes more time. You can input answers with a special keyboard option, but the letters are very small on the DS screen, so only precise pointers need to exercise that option. The stylus options are much easier than selecting numbers or letters with the directional pad. Players write letters in the grids.
The Solitaire mode also uses the touching capabilities to pull cards into place while allowing players to cycle through cards as well.

Overall, this collection is well organized, content heavy and reasonably priced at a $27.99 SRP. Great for gamers on the go and casual players who want to learn more about these addicting games. Experienced players can still find challenge in the multiple difficulty selections though they may conquer the crosswords mode the quickest.

Travel Games for Dummies is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.


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