|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: TOSE||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 7, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Everyone knows Mario, Kirby, or Donkey Kong, but few people realize that Nintendo has a few more hidden gems that only Japanese gamers have been able to experience so far. One of them is the Starfy franchise, which has seen a total of five releases since 2000, and only the last one has made it to America. Since we love action/adventure games, were happy to welcome it to our DS line-up, and hopefully itll be the first of many exciting portable journeys.
The Legendary Starfy adventure brings us to the world of Pufftop, where we meet their renowned prince. Starfy is not just any prince; hes actually a busy one, and hes also known for his unconditional courage. Granted, his bravery wouldnt be such without the help of his best friend Moe, a chatty clam that gives him advice. Its not long before we meet Bunston, an odd space bunny who lands right into the middle of things, wondering where hes coming from and what hes doing there; all he knows is that he needs to run away. After Starfy and his friends earn his trust, they decide to go away and help him out in the search of some interesting crystal shards scattered about the lands. These conventional events are just the beginning of the main quest, which leads the characters to a quite unique adventure full of interesting bosses and mini-bosses, side challenges, mini-games, and lots of action and underwater platforming.
The graphics have an old-school vibe, though with great quality. The cutscenes are simple, hand-drawn animations with little more than funny character expressions like their eyes popping and their tongues hanging out. Theres admittedly a very Japanese sense of humor and art style, but thats what makes this game so cool and fun, and ultimately so Nintendo. Like most handheld adventures, its a sprite-based, two-dimensional side-scroller, and the only 3D element in it is the custom Starfy avatar shown on the top screen when you pause the game.
There are many different ways of playing The Legendary Starfy. There is, of course, the main story mode, and then there are five mini-games youll unlock while playing the main mode. These mini-games are reasonably fun, though youll get the sense of been there, done that when you play them. Still, they can get you hooked, and thats what matters the most, as it extends the play value of this cartridge. My favorite mini-game has you cooking octopus dumplings, Cooking Mama style oil the pan, pour the dough mix, chop the octopus, stir the mix and turn it into a dumpling, then flip it a couple of times, and finally, add the dressings. For some reason, I found this frenzied virtual cooking to be very addictive, even though Ive never been into Cooking Mama.
As for the main mode, its certainly not as addictive, but its engaging enough that if you get the game, youll most likely finish it. Starfy has a few special moves. Y makes him spin or dash when hes not in the water. B makes him sprint in the water (turbo swim), as well as jump or glide when in the surface. You can use the special Y spin to knock down enemies, break blocks, push boulders around, etc. Just keep in mind if you use it too many times in a row, Starfy will get dizzy and become vulnerable in front of enemies, so use it properly. As you advance through the story and meet other characters, youll also acquire new moves and abilities that will help you proceed more efficiently. Bunston also participates in certain areas of the game by transforming into a fire-breathing dragon (Monstar), a manatee that can break through ice, a ghost, etc.