Ever sit at work or at school, and you started to doodle on a piece of paper? You make your squiggles and lines and circles, until it creates some type of identifiable object, then you just move to a blank space and start all over again. It’s the release of pressure in a creative mind that is placed in stasis, like steam that pours from the spout of a boiling teapot, it cannot be contained! Well, time for you to open the hatch, and try out a game that I believe is a good start in the wave of a new generation of gaming. With the DS has come a plethora of ingenious game play concepts, showing me that innovation is starting to get noticed more than Hollywood graphics and snazzy effects, and this game is no different. Now believe me folks when I say this, you aren’t going to see a lot of people give this game praise, you’ll see a lot of consumers say “It’s childish, it’s stupid, it’s bland, whine, whine, bitch, bitch-” it’s going to happen. But let them rant, hopefully you are about to check out a copy of a game with a concept that will hopefully start taking flight soon. It happened with the Dynasty Warriors series, when Square made Drakengard, and Capcom made Devil Kings, and so on; it’s going to catch on, without a doubt. Now without further ado, let’s cut into this little gem.
I decided to get this out of the way, because skeptics that have played the game, or seen the screenshots will wonder about the quality of the graphics. To just hand it to you simply, they suck. Blocky polygons, blurred landscapes, simply detailed environments, they are terrible. But this is why: 1. The engine for the custom 3-D models is obviously not perfect, there is no filter to regulate the jaggedness of the sprites, but a skilled artist may be able to smooth it out (just look at the character sprites the designers made, they’re almost perfect). 2. This game is geared for game play, it’s obvious with the kiddy cardboard cutout environments, and low grade of graphical sharpness. Also because I created a character with high detail, (Yes, the Ax man has an artistic side) and there was a significant slow down. I saw some of the same problems in Magic Pengel 1, but I do see some improvements. This will not be a very enjoyable experience if you are looking for a graphically enlightening experience, but if you can push past that, you should recover. Two thumbs down for graphics.
The sound wasn’t anything to note either. Recycled sound effects you probably heard in a re-run of The Smurfs. I heard better voice acting in an episode of Dora the Explorer, and the dialogue wasn’t much better, with clichés, cheesy one-liners, and conflict so “tense” it resembled a struggle that teenage Care Bears might have from time to time-those fuzzy pacifist bastards-..Surprisingly, the music was catchy in some levels, reminding me of the music in Kingdom Hearts when in Wonderland, that’s the best way I can explain it. One thumb cocked to the side for the jingle music, the other one in my ass. Why is it there? Wouldn’t you like to know-
The only reason we’re here folks!! The game play!! (Final Fantasy win music, dadada dah du du dah dud dah!!!) Here’s a basic rundown on the concepts of the game: You wield a magic paintbrush that can turn drawings into living creatures. You have the power to transform into your drawings, and fight as the creature. As the creature, you have four attacks assigned on the button pad that are configurable to your liking from the attacks and skills you collect. The way you collect the moves is by using an attack with the paint brush that will cause you to transform into the enemy you strike; from this you can obtain their moves and use their attacks.
Now, you might not think it, but there are some strategic elements in this game! You can use the copy attack only so many times, so you’ll need to pick and choose your times to use it, just in case your current creatures don’t cut it. You can use only three creatures at a time, and access them with the D-pad, a concept that I thought was efficient because you can change your characters on the fly, mixing up the combat. Another thing I was impressed with was the use of elemental attacks in this game; fire attacks melt ice and sets enemies on fire, causing them to run around in confusion. Ice attacks freeze enemies and also freeze water to make an ice platform that you can walk on. And lightning attacks can slow down enemies, also if used in water, will damage any other enemies in the same body of water. When you gather enough tokens (defeated enemies drop them, and you can find them around the area) to level up in this game, your HP and stamina increase, also after leveling up enough times, you get to add more drawing parameters, different pens, more combos, and other goodies.
To top off the madness, there are plenty of opportunities for some platforming options; and what is cool about this, is that the design of your character will influence the speed, mobility, and jumping ability. I thought these elements brought together an intuitive and refreshing experience from experimenting with creating monsters, tinkering with the attack schemes, and having a strategic balance of monsters to fight with. But if your drawing skills make Bob Ross turn in his grave, then you can collect cards that enemies drop, and also some secret cards that are laying about the place, and use those drawings as your characters. One big problem I had was the lack of targeting and the clumsy camera controls, you’ll find yourself time and time again trying to center the camera while swinging in the wind to hit your foes. Despite this, game play: two thumbs WAY up.
If you can deal with out the flashy graphics and sounds, and really focus on the creative game play that, yet has a long way to go, shows promise for the future of games like these. I think you owe it to yourself to give this game a shot, but I already know that gamers will either love this game, or hate it. But as for the opinion of Axtuse Grimfist, I love this damn game!