|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Q Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
If you're reading this, you probably enjoy puzzle games at least as much as I do, so I'd recommend you continue reading because this game shouldn't disappoint you. Meteos: Disney Magic is a great game to add to your library. It will give you the chance to enjoy an updated and improved version of the highly praised puzzle game Meteos launched back in 2005. Yes, it has Disney characters and I know it might not be everyone's choice, but if you can get over that fact and let your friends try it, soon you'll all be struggling to be the champ of exciting multiplayer battles.
Meteos is yet another puzzle game that adopted the style of good ol' Tetris. However, the gameplay is entirely different and represents as much challenge or more as the Russian puzzle game. Imagine a vertical container with pieces dropping from above; tough to imagine, eh? Well, now imagine different color pieces, each with their own Disney theme. When they start building up, you'll have to use the stylus to move pieces horizontally or vertically throughout the screen in order to match the colors and build blocks of three or more. These blocks will form the base, and everything above, including them, will get launched up like a rocket. However, they will slowly fall back down because the initial boost never has enough force to drive them off the screen, even if you get some of them to disappear on the way up. Your next move should be finding pieces that you can match within the chunk that is still in the air. This will provide the extra boost needed to blast them completely off the screen and make them disappear. The bigger the group of blocks you launch, the more chances you'll have to find a new combo within it.
The game becomes very challenging because you can't just forget about the rest of the pieces while you look for combos within the groups that you already launched. You need to be good at multitasking and look all over the screen for new pieces you can launch. If a column builds up too high, you'll have a very small grace period to find a combo within it before you get the undesirable "Game Over."
There are three kinds of special abilities that can be very useful: the Nitro Boost, the Slow Mode, and Horizontal Block Movement. The first two are available from the beginning and the last one only in expert mode since horizontal movement is allowed pretty much throughout the rest of the game. The Nitro Boost will supply more boost to the blocks you launched and the Slow Mode will make everything fall slowly for a few seconds, so you have some time to find new combos in a more relaxed atmosphere. Note that you can only use these if your magic gauge is completely filled. You'll also come across three special pieces during the gameplay. One is the Rocket Launcher which will blast off the screen the pieces above it and on either side of it. The Wild Blocks act as a "wild card," turning into any piece you want when you place them next to a group of two. The Replacing Blocks will turn some blocks of a single color into a different color, making it easier to find pieces around it that match to build a combo.
The fast-paced gameplay will make you all stressed. Unlike other puzzle games, Meteos won't allow you to relax at all, although for sure it will get your mind off other things while it keeps you focused on the frenzied action. In fact, you'll probably go to sleep and continue seeing the pieces drop off the sky; your "tortured" brain will keep finding combos and sliding pieces from right to left, left to right, and up and down don't worry, though, you'll be fine the next morning.
And why would Disney remake an already existing game? In addition to the fact that they probably wanted to reach younger audiences, they made the game even more amusing and perfected. This version of Meteos added two main improvements: you will hold the DS vertically, so the vertical scenario fits nicely into the screen; everything looks bigger and, therefore, more controllable. Also, you'll be able to move pieces horizontally as well as vertically, which makes the game a little easier and more enjoyable. It's still challenging as can be and this is certainly not a game for a seven-year-old. I'd say the player should be at least ten to twelve years old to be able to enjoy this game and advance through the different stages. Of course, there's easy mode, normal, hard, and expert. However, the easy mode only has four stages, whereas the other levels of difficulty have at least ten to sixteen levels. If you decide to call it quits for the day, the game will keep your ranking and scores, but you'll have to start from the beginning the next time. You could probably beat the normal story mode in a couple of hours if you keep at it but, it won't be easy! You'll find yourself repeating some levels a few times.