Any title that boasts over a hundred titles in one collection usually means one thing: not a single one of the games are even worth the five seconds you will play with them. Atlus’ latest DS cartridge is yet another monstrous collection of time wasters on Nintendo’s touch-sensitive handheld system. Everything from spearing sushi to shooting hoops is included, and all of it is handled via the touch screen. While there is no doubt that some of these games are truly addictive; the mechanics behind a large portion of them are downright frustrating. It is hard to argue games offered to you at twenty cents apiece, but remember the fabled phrase: you get what you pay for.
Now don’t get me wrong, so far I sound very down on the idea of attention-deficit gaming, but I am truly the opposite. I spend many nights killing twenty minutes of my time slowly etching away at the challenges in Peggle. Each of these 101 titles packed into this cartridge are unique, and that is an achievement in and of itself. You will find yourself trying to beat the allotted scores, and it will quickly become an addiction, but most of the time the fault of not beating them has nothing to do with your skill. Instead some truly questionable control issues hinder what would otherwise be a great time waster for the DS.
I will start at the beginning because that is where the problems arose. The first game available is basketball. Sounds simple enough, but you soon discover that creating the perfect arch, and slinging the ball at just the right velocity is nigh impossible. You wind up either tossing said ball over the rim like Superman, or flailing it granny-style underneath. The amount of touch to lay on the ball is impossible to measure as the touch mechanics seem a bit off on each shot. Thankfully not every game suffers from this same problem. Things such as the sushi-skewering and darts work perfectly fine and are actually a lot of fun to mess around with.
Problems seem to be totally random, and you begin to wonder if some of the games were not tested nearly as much as others. Explanations of each title are given, but it can be a bit perplexing as to where to find them. This is the second problem with the title, things are not very easy to decipher. It just kind of throws you into the mix and expects you to figure out where to go from there. A lot of the main concerns about 101-in-1 is that it feels extremely rushed out the door.
However, there is a lot to be said for a game that can take over a hundred titles into one cartridge. Add that to the idea that it weighs in at less than twenty bucks and it seems like a steal, and I will admit a lot of the games are ample time wasters that can suck you into their simple addictive-ness quickly. The question is can you justify spending twenty bucks on titles that essentially can be found on the web for free. Most of the quirky ideas found in 101-in-1 are just re-interpretations of popular Flash based games.
The list of games on the cartridge is impressive, and even more so is the idea that most of them feel unique by comparison. Sure you will run into the archetypal repeat of a previous idea, but nearly every game does feel like it has its own place. While this is impressive, there are some ideas that feel like they should have been left on the cutting room floor. Who really thinks unwinding yarn is a good time, let alone when you are given a time limit to boot.
Unfortunately once you hammer through each and every game, and you will with enough time, there is little reason to come back for more outside of increasing your high score. The presentation is just bare bones here, and with a limited multi-player, (everyone needs their own cartridge to play) there just isn’t much reason to keep coming back for more. At twenty cents a game, and each game offering about five-to-ten minutes of distraction, the value is entirely up to you.
As far as looks go the game gets the job done. Like the aforementioned Flash-based games, there are a lot of simple items onscreen, which usually lean more towards the classic style of look. The sound is about what you would expect, although the horrid music track is an abomination of game design. Whoever designed the soundtrack needs to be reprimanded, as I had to shut if off before continuing to play the game, it is truly that bad.
101-in-1 Explosive Megamix is the kind of game that handhelds were built for; plenty of variety, with little substance to back it up. For $19.99 it is hard to fault a game that brings over a hundred titles with it, but you will only garner, at most, ten minutes enjoyment out of each one. If you love surfing the internet for quirky titles to kill time then you have likely already experienced everything this cartridge has to offer. However, if you are new to the idea of bite-sized games then this is an excellent place to start, just be aware that there are just as many duds as there are good times.