You really can’t go wrong on the DSi this week. Flipper offers a destructive puzzler unlike any other, Flight Control finally takes off from the iPhone, and Aura-Aura Climber has a grappling hook, which automatically makes it worth a look in my book.
I won’t be able to try out any of the WiiWare releases until later in the week. THis means that I can’t vouch for Ghost Slayer, with MotionPlus support, or Mouse House, a rodent-infested puzzler. Download at your own risk now, or wait until next week’s podcast to see if they turn out to be sleepers. Oh, and nothing for the Virtual Console this week. Maybe Nintendo’s saving up its best and brightest to compete against Microsoft’s Game Room next month. Or not.
Games like Flipper are why I started this column in the first place, even if this particular effort has some problems. Hugo Smits, founder of indie studio Goodbye Galaxy Games, dropped out of school and gave up steady paychecks to realize his dream of creating a video game. Then, the publisher went bankrupt, and he moved the entire project to the DSi instead.
Flipper is a puzzle game in which you have to rescue a pet goldfish by traversing increasingly hilly arenas. This requires the use of terrain-altering coins that can add steps, fix bridges and blow up walls with pinpoint accuracy (like a baby Red Faction Guerrilla). While the touch screen movement’s a little too sensitive and camera control can be a little sluggish, his 3D Voxel engine mostly works. 500 points seems a little steep, but don’t lump this in with the service’s lazier cash-grabs and cell phone ports.
I’m a sucker for grappling hooks and swinging mechanics, so this was a wonderful surprise from Nintendo. The titular sparky hero must latch onto floating orbs in order to reach mile-high goals. Many of these orbs have unique properties – they might shoot you along guided paths (Ã la Donkey Kong barrels), allow you to hover or require you to grab them in a specific order. The main 10 levels can be completed with relative ease, but this is breezy, colorful fun that’s worth the asking price. If only Nintendo supported it’s Wii Shop as well as it does for its DSi equivalent.
The good news: Flight Control, probably the iPhone’s biggest hit, is finally on the DSi. The bad news: it costs five times as much. That’s not to say that it’s any less addictive – I’ve already put a couple hours into directing color-coded plans to their proper landing strip – but I suppose it’s no longer the impulse purchase it once was. Blame that on licensing fees, I guess. However, if you’re like me and don’t have steady access to the iTunes App Store, you’ll get on board anyway.