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Crosswords DS Review

Crosswords DS

Crosswords DS

DS Nintendo Game Reviews

“Put your newspaper down — you won’t need it anymore.”

Pros : 1,000 crosswords to keep you busy
Cons : Dull and uninspired music

Some of our favorite DS games are designed specifically for the hardcore player. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. New Super Mario Bros. The World Ends With You. Metroid Prime Hunters. The list goes on and on. Of course, these titles cater to gaming traditionalists, but in recent years Nintendo has also made a business of appealing to the casual user — and frankly, it’s hit upon some winning videogames in the process. Nintendogs is one example. Brain Age is a better one. The latter project shipped with a fully-functioning recreation of puzzle game Sudoku and it was so well made that many players preferred it to the primary content in Brain Age. Now, Nintendo has taken the intuitive control mechanics powering Sudoku and applied them to an altogether different brand of puzzler for equally engrossing results.

Crosswords DS comes to Nintendo’s handheld courtesy Retro Nuevo Games and NST and the title features three different gameplay modes, including crosswords, anagrams and word searches. That’s really it, so if you’re looking for added presentational bells and whistles or mechanical options like downloadable puzzles or a multiplayer mode of any kind, you’re going to be disappointed. Nintendo has delivered a barebones package concentrated strictly on the basics of crosswords, word searches and anagrams. Thankfully, though, the core gameplay design and the selection of puzzles make up for any shortcomings in variety.

Of course, the game’s biggest draw is its considerable selection of crossword puzzles, which will keep you busy for many weeks to come. The crosswords vary in size and difficulty and ramp up as you progress from easy to medium, hard and so forth. All in all there are 1,000 different puzzles to complete, an impressive number for sure, especially when you think about it in terms of the newspaper equivalent, which you could most assuredly not fit comfortably in your back pocket. Sure enough, the easiest puzzles are comprised of only a half dozen tiles and are in turn ridiculously shallow, not to mention quickly completed. In contrast, some of the more difficult crosswords will really challenge you in the same way that the good ones in the back of newspapers do, and this is really where the the puzzler transforms into a portable addiction. Best of all, if you aren’t able to complete a crossword in a single sitting, you can save and resume it at another time.

The developers have smartly used Sudoku’s friendly touch-screen control interface as a base for Crosswords DS and as a result the process of scribbling in letters is intuitively picked up and mastered. There’s a training mode, but you won’t need it — you can learn everything in a matter of minutes simply by experimenting logically. Meanwhile, the hand recognition software works very well with only a few minor quirks here and there. You’ll want to be careful to close the loop on your “P”s and always dot your “I”s, or the software may accidentally mistake you input for an R or an L respectively. If you make a wrong guess at a letter, you can tap an erase icon on-screen, but you don’t need to; alternatively, you can simply scribble in another letter and it’ll replace it, which is great. Handily, incorrect guesses display in red and correct ones in black (if you turn the hint system on.) It’s clear that Retro Nuevo Games and NST have put some thought into the control mechanics for they are simple and smart.

That being noted, there’s still a little room for subtle improvement (and hopefully we’ll see a sequel that addresses some of our minor quibbles). First, as avid iPhone owners, we’ve grown accustomed to double-tapping to zoom in and out of the screen and while Crosswords DS will magnify tiles if you click on them, you’ll need to tap a zoom icon to pan outward again, which is slightly, barely, we’re-not-even-sure-we-should-mention-it irksome. Also a miniscule gripe, the speed at which the game auto-slides you forward (or downward depending on your orientation) after you inputted a correct letter. It’s not slow, but it’s a little slower than we’d have preferred. Indeed, the pace of the game sometimes borders on the tedious. For example, having completely a puzzle, you’ll be forced to sit through a long calculation process and the title meticulously totals your score and begrudgingly moves forward to the next stage. Hey — we fully understand that these are nit-picky criticisms, but they are criticisms nevertheless.

If you grow bored with the selection of crosswords, you can turn to the anagrams and word search sections, both of which offer a commendable selection of additional puzzles to complete, none of them as fun as the crosswords. Still, un-jumbling letters into words in the anagrams section is enjoyable and easy to control, as you just slide everything around with the stylus. Word searches are likewise smartly controlled — all you have to do is slide the stylus across the letters that form hidden words and they will auto-outline within the puzzle.

If you have ever found yourself looking over the crosswords section of your favorite newspaper with pen in hand, I think you’re going to really appreciate what Nintendo has done with Crosswords DS for it very effectively translates the engrossing and challenging nature of crosswords to the handheld format. With 1,000 different puzzles. With anagrams and word searches. And with a very smart, intuitive control scheme to boot. All for a bargain bin price, I might add. For these reasons and more, it’s a game that will prove a spectacular time killer — pop it open the next time you’re waiting for a movie to start or wasting away at the doctor’s office and the minutes will speed by.

At the same time, the game offers nothing in the vein of extra bells and whistles. The graphics are ridiculously simple., as is the elevator music-inspired soundtrack. There’s no multiplayer mode of any kind, a missed opportunity, as far as I’m concerned. And what about downloadable puzzles? It’s certainly possible — Picross already pulled it off (and, by the way, you could upload your own puzzles in that game too). I just get the impression that while the core package was done very well, no attempt was made to go the extra mile.

source : http://ds.ign.com/objects/949/949623.html

IGN Rating : 8.0

Available at Amazon.com

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Picross DS Review

Picross DS

Picross DS

DS Nintendo Game Reviews

“High-quality collection of logic puzzles at a terrific bargain price”

Pros : Lots of puzzles to solve, Hectic online action provides a lasting challenge.
Cons : Music can get repetitive.

The incredible popularity of the daily Sudoku newspaper puzzles (as well as the umpteen Nintendo DS games) has set a fire under Nintendo’s butt to go back to its classic roots and revive one of its less remembered Game Boy games. Picross has been around for years and has a place in many gamers’ hearts, but clearly without the Sudoku craze Nintendo arguably wouldn’t have brought back the design. It’s a good thing it did: Picross DS is easily one of the most addictive and engaging pick-up-and-play puzzle games released on the Nintendo DS, and the clean, sterile Nintendo DS redesign fits the “casual gamer” demographic perfectly. Pass this one up and you’ll be missing out on one of the finest DS titles yet created.

The concept is about as mathematical as Sudoku is, which is to say that it’s not very. Using the clues given at each row and column, you’ve got to determine which blocks are active in the grid. The clues given are how many “groups” are active: if a row says “1, 3” it means that the particular row has one square, then a group of three squares, with at least one inactive square between the groupings. If it’s a 5×5 grid, it’s pretty easy to know that, using this example, the first, third, fourth and fifth square in that row are active to the puzzle…but if it’s a larger grid you’ll have to do a bit more hunting to figure out where the active ones are. Solve the puzzle and you’ll reveal the picture, a low-resolution two-bit image like a fruit, an animal, a vehicle…anything.

Now, early in the experience you’ll probably try to convince yourself that there’s no way to solve some puzzles without blind guessing in order to open up more clues. But the way the game lays out its levels, the designers stealthily teach the mechanics of finding the tiny clues that will lead you to solve some of the tough puzzles in the game. The trick is to use the “X” markers as liberally as possible – if you know where an active block isn’t, don’t be chicken to mark it with an X…the game will actually gray out the row/column hints if you block out a proper grouping to help out. There’s almost always enough given away in a puzzle to peck away at the grid properly, and the sooner you find the little clues the more the brain will work to uncover the viciously difficult challenges deeper inside Picross DS.

If you mark an inactive square as active, you’re penalized time – that’s how you’re ranked in a game: how long it takes to finish a puzzle. If you take more than an hour – whether that’s real-time or penalized time – you don’t get full credit for completing the puzzle. And that’s the only big issue with the game – once you solve a puzzle you already know what it is, so if you have to play through it again you already have a huge hint on where to start. And the whole “penalize with extra minutes” thing is fine, but the game should be tracking how many errors you made along the way. It doesn’t.

The lack of error tracking is a shame because Picross DS does a great job keeping track of other elements. The “Daily Picross” item is a fantastic evolution of Nintendo’s effort to get gamers to play games on a regular basis. It’s an item that in basic form for Brain Age and branched out in other Nintendo games, most notably the recently released Planet Puzzle League. Daily Picross enables quick-paced versions of Picross to be played once a day, and the times are tracked over the course of weeks via an on-screen chart. Just like Planet Puzzle League’s mode, the Daily Picross challenges give the game that “must play today!” addictiveness. As if standard Picross wasn’t already addictive enough. Which it most definitely is.

On top of this, players can create their own drawings and turn them into Picross puzzles, and then trade them all locally or online. Nintendo will also be creating new puzzles for downloading for as long as they can keep up with the demand. The construction element’s pretty powerful but it doesn’t allow for the creation of the same pixel animation that the built-in puzzles have when they’re solved. Even so it’s a welcome and useful addition that allows for tons of creative ideas (most likely Picross Penis Puzzles Aplenty) and near endless play time.

The Picross concept is also extended with some really great multiplayer competition. It’s a simple race against the other person to see who can finish the puzzle first – any mistakes penalizes the player by deactivating his puzzle for five seconds…and that could be an eternity against a veteran Picross player. This mode can be played locally or over the internet. Locally, you only need one copy of the game to play it. The benefits of a graphically minimal game design.

The game may not look like much on the surface, but once you delve into a handful of Picross puzzles you might find it hard to stop playing. Picross DS is a brilliant, mature-focused Nintendo DS product that’s incredibly addictive with near endless gameplay. If you missed out on the original Game Boy design Nintendo’s got you covered: those puzzles can be downloaded off of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection servers for free. This is a fantastic alternative to the Sudoku design, and as fun as that number puzzle is, Picross DS trounces it.

source : http://ds.ign.com/articles/809/809486p1.html

GameSpot Score : 8.0
IGN Rating : 9.0

Available at Amazon.com

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Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2009

Holiday Buyer’s Guide Top Nintendo DS & DSi Games of 2009

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars


Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a GTA game specifically tailored for the Nintendo DS platform, and while the Nintendo DS may be the weakest current generation system in terms of hardware power, Rockstar doesn’t let that get in the way of producing one of the deepest and extremely fulfilling chapters in the Grand Theft Auto saga. More…

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 Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story


Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Mario and Luigi’s eternal struggle against the forces that threaten the Mushroom Kingdom—and frequently kidnap Princess Peach—continue in Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, the latest in the lighthearted, action-oriented role-playing game series. More…

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Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box


Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is the second game in the Professor Layton series created mostly by Level-5’s puzzle-obsessed Akihiro Hino. Like the other games, the plot of Diabolical Box is driven by the Professor’s need to solve an overarching mystery – this time around, it’s the death of his friend and mentor. More…

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Rhythm Heaven

Rhythm Heaven


Rhythm Heaven

It’s not surprising to find out that Rhythm Heaven has been produced by the same team responsible for unleashing Wario Ware: it’s crazy, experimental, and it never takes itself seriously. It’s also surprisingly robust and addictive as hell. More…

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scribblenauts

Scribblenauts


Scribblenauts

There are very few games in which the biggest obstacle that stands between you and success is the limitation of your own imagination. In Scribblenauts, you have access to thousands of objects that can be summoned at any point using the in-game keyboard, and your goal is to push the boundaries of your creativity and vocabulary to solve the puzzles in whatever fanciful way you dream up. More…

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Animal Crossing: Wild World

Animal Crossing: Wild World


Animal Crossing Wild World

It’s a difficult task to convince someone, simply by describing what’s involved, that Animal Crossing: Wild World is an enormously fun and engaging game experience. I mean, much of the focus is turning menial, real life tasks like housecleaning, landscaping, and scavenging,  More…

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The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass


The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Alright, baby! The famous Nintendo cash cow the Legend of Zelda finally makes the big jump to the DS here in this Phantom Hourglass game and it just so happens to be the sequel to the Gamecube title: The Wind Waker. More…

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Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS


Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS, Nintendo’s pulled out all the stops for this “next generation” Mario Kart sequel, and though it’s a handheld game, there’s nothing small about this design. here’s absolutely not a doubt in my mind: Mario Kart DS is the greatest Mario Kart game ever, which, in turn, makes it the greatest Kart racer game ever created. More…

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New Super Mario Bros.

New Super Mario Bros.


New Super Mario Bros.

Despite the sort of weird title, New Super Mario Bros. is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a new Super Mario Bros. game that pulls off the series’ classic 2D, side-scrolling gameplay without feeling contrived or like a needless nostalgia trip. While there’s plenty of old memories referenced in this game, it is most definitely new. More…

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The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You


The World Ends With You

Most gamers out there would probably agree that the world of role-playing games has been stuck in a specific rut for quite a while. We’re not talking down on games like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars on DS (RPG-like tactical games), or the still-remarkable Final Fantasy series, but rather the hundreds upon hundreds of RPGs out there that don’t dare to be different. More…

Chrono Trigger Review

Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger

DS Nintendo game reviews

“Falling in love with all over again”

Pros : A lovable cast of memorable heroes and empathetic villains, Epic story with 14 possible endings, Innovative, engaging combat system, Brand-new ending, dungeons, and items
Cons : Monster arena is a lackluster addition.

Chrono Trigger DS. It’s a port of one of the greatest games of all time, adds more options and user-determined design elements based on touch, buttons, and so on, and it’s also a game I can’t make blanket statements about and recommend for 100% of the crowd out there.

Don’t get me wrong. If you haven’t played Chrono Trigger before, are in the mood to play it again, or simply feel you need to own this one to support Square’s release of such an amazing game, by all means buy it. Just know that most of what you’ll find was either included on Super NES years back, or in the PSX Final Fantasy Chronicles seven years ago. For this review we’ve done something special, as I played through the game again on DS, having already enjoyed the hell out of Chrono Trigger back on Super NES, but we’ve also got the opinion of someone that’s never touched Chrono Trigger before in our “Another Take” section. First off though, I’ll give out my two cents.

Really what it comes down to is whether or not Chrono Trigger holds up on DS, both in the whole “adding touch and dual screen” side of things, and also in the fact that this is a game that came out in 1995. It does. It does in a bit, bit way. This was, still is, and I’d imagine will forever be a game that stands the test of time, and given the platform it’s a game that still stands out graphically, even now performing better than most 2D efforts on DS. The storytelling is beautiful, the gameplay is turn-based and filled with both random battles and user-initiated ones, but the flow of it all is one that keeps things moving and entertaining throughout, and more than anything else it’s just a game that feels amazingly alive, be it from tracking what players do and in what order to deliver a compelling court scene during the game, adding in race modes for future levels and a game kick-off festival to just run around in and enjoy. It’s all still just as captivating and touching as it was the first time I played it; a true gem of our industry.

And it’s really more than just a “quick port” in the end. Yes, you’ll find the same art assets, character designs, animations, and effects, but there’s also a much stronger script this time overall (impressive, since the original was so imaginative on its own), and a few added aspects of the game for players who have gone the distance with this one before. The extra quests in the game connect extremely well, with of course of those acting as the 13th ending in the game; and it’s a great one to be sure. As far as the multiplayer arena goes, it’s fun, but not something that’s really needed, or the actual “multiplayer” experience we could have had with Chrono Trigger. Training monsters and battling them with friends is a neat idea – though it’s a shame that you’ll only find local multiplayer, considering how simple the whole battle mechanic is in this game – and the tie-in between normal story mode cash and the rare items you can take back with you through the monster battling is a nice link, though again not a needed one. A multiplayer co-op experience would have blown me away, and while that isn’t what players are going to get with this very simple Monster Rancher meets Pokemon feel, it’s still a fun, totally optional offering.

The biggest changes I found though in the game were just the ones centered around basic design, and it’s great to see the Square Enix put control in the hands of the player. You can change what screen battle info and stats show up on, remove touch functionality and use only buttons, change a whole slew of touch-based hotkeys, and then of course make all the original changes available on Super NES and PSX, such as speed of the game, active or wait battles, and the like. I challenge players to go in there, see their options, and still be mad that they could or couldn’t do a certain action, or have something displayed a certain way; it just satisfies every type of player. You can even turn off the impressive hand-drawn cut scenes taken from the PSX version if you want. I’m not sure why you’d ever want to do it, but it’s in there.

There’s a reoccurring theme in Chrono Trigger DS, and it’s an important one for a game this historical. The game is virtually unchanged in its core, having a new script re-write, but retaining the visuals, music, character designs, interface styles, and options of the source material. At the same time, Square Enix also ensures that this is the definitive version of Chrono Trigger out there, as the game comes complete with every option you could ever want for touch vs. button control, two or single screen display, or game pacing and difficulty. Where things should have been left the same, they were. Where fixes or additions could be made, they have. Yes it’s a $40 game for a title many of us have played until our thumbs were sore, and it’s unchanged in a lot of ways from what you played back in 1995 or in 2001, but it’s also just as captivating, imaginative, or well made now as it was then. I could write volumes on this game, but it isn’t needed. If you’ve never played Chrono Trigger before, buy this game. If you’re a die-hard fan and want to support one of the greatest games of all time, buy this game. If you’re having trouble validating a $40 purchase for what is ultimately the same game, it’s the wrong choice for you, and your cash is better spent elsewhere. Any way you slice it though, Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and it’s a game everyone – whether on DS, PSX, Super NES, or in the future – should play.

source : http://ds.ign.com/articles/932/932438p2.html

GameSpot Score : 8.5
IGN Rating : 8.8

Available at Amazon.com

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Animal Crossing: Wild World Review

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Animal Crossing: Wild World

DS Nintendo game reviews

“Now you can take your second life with you”

Pros : The exact same brand of addictive gameplay, Many more fish, bugs, fossils, and other crazy things to collect, Online play.
Cons: Touch screen controls aren’t altogether useful

It’s a difficult task to convince someone, simply by describing what’s involved, that Animal Crossing: Wild World is an enormously fun and engaging game experience. I mean, much of the focus is turning menial, real life tasks like housecleaning, landscaping, and scavenging, into gameplay elements that, when combined, make the design come together. What it does, and in turn where it excels, is give the players a really excellent sense of accomplishment and personal expression, and the Nintendo DS does more or less everything that the GameCube version did, with the added incentive of going online and opening up their pride and joy for everyone else to enjoy. This portable version doesn’t go above and beyond the original GameCube design that kicked off the series, but for those who haven’t hit the forest before, you may find yourself surprisingly addicted to the chore-laden animal world.

The original Animal Crossing was one of Nintendo’s first “non-gamer games” for the not-so-hardcore player, a demographic that the company’s been targeting a lot harder lately. Like its Nintendogs product, Animal Crossing doesn’t really have an end or even a hard goal to accomplish. It’s an evergreen design where players live a life in a fantasy world the way they want. Alone or with friends, players simply enjoy themselves in a laidback environment making the village their own; customize the landscape with trees and flowers, create clothing patterns and trade them with the inhabitants, catch fish and bugs and donate them to the local museum. It’s a design that’s meant to grab players’ attention for not just days, but for weeks and even months after the purchase. There’s no twitch action or even challenging gameplay here, but Animal Crossing still manages to suck the player in with tons of stuff to do and enjoy.

Even after several weeks of hanging out in Animal Crossing, only a fraction of the game shows its face to the player. Events — flea markets, timed holidays, appearance of out-of-town animals like hair stylists and merchants – are all based upon the Nintendo DS system’s internal clock, and half the fun is booting up your game to see what’s the next scheduled event to pop up in your village. The designers do a fantastic job making the game feel like it’s a living, breathing world no matter if the system’s on or off – Animal Crossing keeps on going even if you’re not there to enjoy it.

Animal Crossing: Wild World is meant to be an original design in the franchise, yet for people who have already gone through months and months of building up their villages in the GameCube version, it really feels like a repeat for about 90 percent of the DS edition. The designers didn’t do enough to make the game its own design, so it’s not entirely attractive to people who’ve already experienced all this before. There are plenty of reasons to do it all again – mostly the online aspect – but it’s clear that the company is holding a lot of its drastic changes for the next-generation design.

The GameCube game is definitely used as a foundation for the Nintendo DS version, but things have been changed and shifted around both to work within the freedom and confines of the portable environment, as well as fix and improve on the original game design. Inventory management, for example, works more intuitively thanks to the touch screen control of the DS; swapping in and out of costumes and headgear, for example, is a simple matter of dragging and dropping items from the pocket onto the players’ persona. Some tasks have been streamlined to speed things up, like having the ability to combine multiple items or letters when selling or shipping.

Cool and clever new elements have been added to the mix, like the ability to shoot down random, rare presents that float across the sky with a slingshot. Animals can now have relationships within the players’ villages to spice up the dialogue and add new tasks between characters. Additional elements of customization are also available: players can jot up their own constellation in the night sky, as well as wear a much larger assortment of clothing that goes beyond the GameCube’s shirt. The ability to buy hats, glasses, and other headgear opens up a lot more opportunity for personal expression.

But even with the freedom of the touchscreen, Nintendo doesn’t really take the Nintendo DS version down a path that takes advantage of this touch screen control. Sure, the ability to paint and write becomes a lot more intuitive with the ability to draw and type with the accuracy of the stylus. But there are missed opportunities to really showcase the Animal Crossing gameplay in a touch-screen environment. Fishing, for example, could have been a lot more involved and fun had the controls and interface changed – instead, it’s a basic control of tapping the screen to cast, tapping the screen to reel the fish in. Not very creative. And even though players can control their character with the stylus exclusively, this input is sometimes too clunky for tasks that require a bit of digital accuracy. Digging holes, chopping trees, and moving furniture is much more intuitive with the D-pad/button combo, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself swapping to that control on the fly.

The Nintendo DS design does lack the initial incentive to get the adventure started. On the GameCube (and in turn, the Nintendo 64 Japan-only release), the designers snuck in a batch of emulated NES games and rewarded players with an original game right at the beginning of their life in Animal Crossing. Whether or not the NES games were the reason players booted up the game, it’s hard to argue that the NES games were a driving force to keep players’ interests as a dangling carrot. There’s no hard goal in Animal Crossing: Wild World other than creating the best life possible in the village, but the NES games created an incentive to get players working towards the first real goal in the game: find all the classics. The Nintendo DS version, however, lacks this incentive. The entire design doesn’t suffer as a result of this omission, but it does feel a bit slower to get going since the Nintendo DS version of the game doesn’t dangle any carrot in front of the players’ noses right from the start.

Though the removal of NES games is a huge omission, Nintendo makes up for it in a huge way by giving gamers the biggest request made of players when the GameCube version was making the rounds: a full, multiplayer experience. On the GameCube, players could only visit others’ villages if they had access to the same GameCube and that player’s memory card. That player couldn’t be on at the same time, nor could other players interact with each other in the same or opposing villages. On the Nintendo DS, this limitation is removed thanks to the system’s wireless connectivity functions, and going even further than that is the ability to hop on the internet and open up your village to other players. This is a huge step up from the GameCube’s system of trading items via a clunky password – now its a matter of opening up the gate and letting them in to check out your village.

There are limitations to the multiplayer aspect of Animal Crossing, and though there’s a lot of potential in the remote connectivity, it’s not all it could have been. Chatting between players is available, it’s incredibly restrictive with no chat log or a useable area of text to type. Animals escape indoors when villages are available for friends to visit, which makes it nearly impossible for visitors to join in on standard village events. Four players can be in the same village at the same time, but only two players can occupy any one building…including the multi-room museum. Players can only send mail to other players by visiting their village and mailing it to them from that player’s local post office. And standard functions, like constellation or pattern editing, are disabled the moment any visitor hits a remote village. The biggest limitation is the requirement of Friend Codes to visit remote villages – it’s a “play it safe” strategy by Nintendo so that kids aren’t exposed to the horrors of unknown people, but the company could have offered neutral, Nintendo-sponsored and maintained villages for players who don’t have friends online. As it stands, though, the only way to get online is to have a Friend Code already entered into the cartridge.

But even with these limits, the online element opens up a lot of cool elements. Patterns that visitors create can be posted in others’ villages, which can then be picked up by other villagers and displayed. Player-created constellations can end up in visited villages. Letters written to neighboring animals will be saved and carried over when these animals leave, which means they could potentially read their letters outloud to other Animal Crossing players. This game is incredibly viral in design, and it becomes even moreso now that players can go online. Animal Crossing players can end up with patterns, constellations, letters and other items from unknown people simply from these elements moving from system to system to system…and that’s pretty darn cool. And unlike Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing’s internet support is just as full-featured as the local wireless connectivity – Nintendo did not strip any functionality out of multiplayer to get the game to work online.

It’s been more than two years since Animal Crossing sucked me into its world on the GameCube. Admittedly the initial reason I got into that experience was to score all the NES systems for my virtual, upstairs, Animal Crossing gameroom, so to have that element stripped out of the Nintendo DS sequel was like a dagger to the heart.

Luckily, the Animal Crossing design is still plenty engaging to work a new life on the portable Nintendo DS system, and it wasn’t hard to get right back up on that horse and start anew. The game really does make more sense as a handheld game, especially since I no longer have to tote the much more clunky GameCube along to parties just so I can see the animals in my village celebrate the New Year or events like Toy Day – now I can simply whip out my dual-screen portable and join in on the festivities.

The online component was something that the original GameCube design screamed for, and Nintendo delivered for the Nintendo DS version. Mostly. It’s still a bit on the limited side, with restrictions showing their faces every time you try to explore the design in the online environment. But for the most part, Nintendo gave us everything we were asking for when playing the GameCube version: a much more intuitive way of trading items and enjoying other players’ creations. And, at the very least, the company succeeded. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but I’ve definitely been enjoying what the company offered for Animal Crossing: Wild World’s online experience.

I can definitely see why Animal Crossing wouldn’t appeal to some folk – the game is incredibly laid back with no real goals, and much of its gameplay involves doing tasks that you’re trying to avoid doing in real life by playing videogames in the first place. But the game’s ability to give the players a sense of accomplishment with all that you can do and experience is enormously rewarding and, at least to me, incredibly addictive. And the ability to enjoy all this with players all over the country is all the more reason to continue living and thriving in Animal Crossing.

source : http://ds.ign.com/articles/673/673671p1.html

GameSpot Score : 8.4
IGN Rating : 8.8

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Nintendo Confirms North American DSi LL Release

DS Nintendo game reviews

“Newer, heavier DSi coming early next year”.

October 29, 2009 – Announced this morning from Japan, Nintendo has revealed it will release the new DSi LL in North America and Europe in Q1 2010. The console will receive a bit of a name change over here, though, now being called the DSi XL.

“A new iteration of the Nintendo DSi; system will be introduced in Japan on November 21, 2009,” Nintendo said in a statement sent to IGN. “To be known as Nintendo DSi LL in Japan, and as Nintendo DSi XL in North America and Europe, it will offer a screen 93% larger than the current Nintendo DS Lite with a better view angle, an additional longer touch screen stylus, and preinstalled Nintendo DSiWare software.”

“The new version will arrive in North America and Europe in the first quarter of calendar year 2010.”

Pricing details have not been revealed, though the DSi LL in Japan is said to cost 20,000 yen (about $220), up a bit from the DSi’s current 18,900 yen price point.

Nintendo DSi LL compare with Nintendo DS Lite

source : http://ds.ign.com/articles/104/1040444p1.html

Nintendo Unveils DSi LL [Update]

Nintendo DSi LL

DS Nintendo game reviews

“Larger screen and a larger stylus too! First details and pics here”

October 29, 2009 – Leaked reports of a DS hardware revision were confirmed today as Nintendo formally announced the Nintendo DSi LL. This fourth DS hardware variation will hit Japan next month.

DSi LL’s biggest advantage over the current DSi is its screen size. Nintendo has equipped the new system with two 4.2 inch screens, offering 93% additional space over the DSi’s current 3.2 inch screens.

The LL’s screens also provide greater viewing angle. This, Nintendo says, will allow groups to view the system’s screens simultaneously.

Presumably due to the larger size body, DSi LL will offer additional battery life. Nintendo’s spec page lists a 9 to 11 hour range under mid-level brightness. DSi gets 6 to 9 hours. Those who like to game with max brightness will get 4 to 5 hours play time, up from the current 3 to 4 hours.

In terms of internal functionality, the two systems are said to be identical.

Nintendo DSi LL Red Wine

Nintendo will be charging 20,000 yen for DSi LL in Japan (about $220). This is up somewhat from the system’s current price of ?18,900.

Perhaps to make up for the price difference, Nintendo will be including some freebies. Each DSi LL will include a second, longer, fatter stylus. This stylus is meant for home use, as it’s too large to be stored in the system. Nintendo will also be bundling three DSiWare games: two Brain Age games and an unreleased dictionary program.

DSi LL will hit Japan on November 21. Nintendo will make available three colors: Dark Brown, Wine Red, and Natural White.

You can see some comparison pics between DSi and DSi LL at a special page Nintendo set up today.

This particular hardware announcement concerns Japan only at present. We’ll let you know if Nintendo makes a similar announcement for the Western world. Do keep in mind that the DSi saw announcement and release in Japan at a similar time last year, but ended up not seeing overseas release until early this year.

Source : http://ds.ign.com/articles/104/1040313p1.html