The idea of collection is nothing new to the world of games. In fact almost every game has some gem or item that you can find throughout the journey that rewards you with extra lives, in-game currency and the like. But what about a game that revolves entirely around the idea of collecting things. What if a game came along that forced players to roam around outside of their domicile in order to find everything it had to offer? Well that game has arrived thanks to Aspyr, and it lands on the Nintendo DS. Treasure World utilizes one of the many nuances of the portable device to create in-game items for you to collect. There really isn’t much else to it, but the sheer idea of collecting them all is unexplainably addicting.
There are not a lot of game components to be found in Treasure World, in fact outside of collecting the only thing the game carries with it is a goofy story. The main character is the Star Sweep and his trusty robot sidekick Wish Finder. They are galactic collectors that have crash landed on Earth, and inherently ran out of fuel. It just so happens that WiFi signals will do the trick, so the Star Sweep tasks you with collecting them so he can return to his agenda. Like I said it is goofy, but it does a well enough job to keep things moving.
The general idea is that users set their DS to capture WiFi signals, close it up, and go on their merry way. Whenever a signal is found the system lets you know. The best method I discovered was walking through a Wal-Mart store, you can capture up to 100 different signals in there. Each signal is then translated into an item. This collection aspect becomes an addiction, and before you know it you are traipsing around everywhere that might have a signal in hopes that you can find new items. There are even special items that can be obtained at demo kiosks using Nintendo applications such as Picto Chat; very cool stuff.
This method really is the game’s strongest link and most dangerous ally. There really is nothing else to it. There is not a traditional game to complete, just another item to collect. This limits the appeal to anyone who might be expecting more bang for their buck. Personally I love the idea and wish more developers would take a chance on such a bold new endeavor, but it doesn’t change the fact that this cartridge is not for everyone.
The variation of items you can collect ranges from traditional to downright obscure. Everything from classic game sprites to clothing items for your in-game avatar are yours for the taking. Each one bringing excitement when you collect a new item. The downside is, much like myself and games, is you are always scoping out for the next big thing. Rarely do you take the time to appreciate the items in your collection, you always just want more. It becomes obsessive to a point where I had to limit myself from taking my DS with me everywhere I went, just so I could keep track of all the things I already had.
In addition to just collecting the developers have added a substantial amount of interactivity to the game. Much like Bungie’s Halo stat tracking you can link your profile to the Treasure World website and keep tracks of all your accomplishments there. If that wasn’t enough you can also view your avatar, customize things and even share songs you create in the game via a web browser. The interaction is flawless and I had no problems linking my profile and keeping track of my treasures at home or at work. It simply adds to the addiction. The website also rewards you with new items and even has a hint of Animal Crossing as certain items are only available on certain days of the year. Treasure World has the potential to be a long-term addiction, granted you enjoy the aspect of collecting useless paraphernalia.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint the game offers a mixed bag of confusion and delight. The graphics are absolutely enchanting. The character designs are fantastic and the atmosphere permeates a certain charm that is hard to resist. The letdown comes from the unfriendly interface. The game doesn’t do the best job of teaching you what each onscreen icon is used for, and until you play around with it for a while, it will frustrate you more often than not. This is more of a learning curve, but for a game that the devs obviously want you to invest a lot of time in; they didn’t make it very user-friendly.
Treasure World is one of those games that is entirely impossible to review without having some sort of bias. I had an absolute blast with the game, and would recommend it to anyone with an addictive nature like me. If you simply must break every candle in Castlevania and collect every coin in Sonic games then you will likely have a good time here. Be warned though there really isn’t a traditional game per se, but what is here will enthrall you to no end if you let it. Here is to hoping the online community continues to thrive, and new features are added often. Now if you will excuse me I have a few more department stores to raid for WiFi signals.