“Summer has faded away, and school is back in session, but that hasn’t stopped the flow of great downloadable games. In this month’s exploration of downloadable gaming delights, we jump into high speed racing boats, corral strange monsters on a dangerous planet, pummel 8-bit baddies to win a girl’s affections, and explore a mirror-image kingdom.”
“It’s easy to see why the original Picross DS resonated so strongly with avid puzzle game enthusiasts and nongamers alike. Blending elements of Sudoku, crossword puzzles, paint-by-numbers, and Minesweeper into an ultimate puzzle stew, this ridiculously addictive little game is a delightful time-sucking black hole of fun. If forming amusing pixel art images by solving 2D logic-based picture puzzles held you in its thrall, or if you don’t even know what a nonogram is, you won’t be able to pry your fingers away from the stylus once you get a taste of these mind-bending puzzles steeped in 3D. Picross 3D takes the same puzzle concepts that made the original game so enjoyable and builds on them masterfully. Solving each puzzle to uncover the 3D object encased inside of it is more like chiseling away at a rock sculpture than solving a Sunday crossword. This great new approach to the familiar gameplay makes the formula all the more engrossing.”
“Venturing deep beneath the waves to explore lush aquatic worlds teeming with life and mystery in Endless Ocean was a completely different experience from what most players had previously encountered on the Wii. The ultrarelaxed atmosphere along with the open-ended, go-at-your-own-pace deep sea diving journey proved to be soothing and engrossing. However, it didn’t pack much punch in the way of solid direction or a compelling plot. Considering the original concept was such a neat idea in the first place, it’s great to see that developer Arika took much of the criticism leveled at the game to heart in crafting Endless Ocean: Blue World.”
“Zubo definitely possesses a certain “what the hell” factor. It’s a game that’s been marketed to kids, but it’s not based on any pre-existing gaming franchise or movie tie-in schlock. It looks cutesy, but it’s actually one of the more creatively designed and visually impressive games on the system in some time. It smashes together rhythm game elements and a turn-based RPG battle system – two things traditionally reserved for titles geared toward more hardcore audiences – with cushy adventure exploration in a way that’s mostly clever and humorous. At the same time, you’ll find fluff mini-games, a monster-battling collection element and tiresome fetch quests scattered about. Zubo clearly suffers from a bit of an identify crisis, yet this quirky mish-mash of styles and ideas surprisingly works in its favor.