“It’s not very often that you’ll come across a DS game that isn’t afraid to splash the screen with gore and dismemberment. While buckets of blood alone aren’t guaranteed to result in a great and creepy game, 2007’s Dementium: The Ward made a strong case for taking a trip to the dark side on the handheld. Venturing through the grim, oppressive hallways of an atrocity-infested mental institution with a cheap flashlight and an arsenal of deadly implements was an eerie and entertaining experience. The original was an ambitious first-person survival horror game done mostly right, but a few design issues–chief among them a poorly implemented save system and repetitive level structure–bogged down the short, grisly adventure. Dementium II tightens up the gameplay, fixes a lot of the frustrating elements that hampered the first game, and brings the horror-infused action to some interesting new locations.”
“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.”
“Nintendo has been well known for constantly retooling its handheld gaming systems and strategically releasing upgraded version with enhanced features and fresh designs. The Game Boy and Game Boy Advance lines went through many such redesigns during their lengthy life spans, and the DS is getting similar treatment. Hot on the heels of last year’s DSi, Nintendo is launching the DSi XL on March 28.. Here’s a rundown of what’s new and notable on the handheld and what’s unchanged.”
Check out the full feature here at What They Play.
“Taking the axe to a popular MMORPG and paring it down to fit on a handheld platform is risky business, particularly when the massively multiplayer online portion of the equation is what made the experience so enticing in the first place. Ragnarok DS may look and play very much like its online counterpart, but the sacrifices made to bring the game to a portable format wind up hamstringing the adventure. After slogging through many hours of hacking up scores of creatures with my small band of warriors, I found out the hard way this dry, generic anime RPG has a few decent carry-over elements and a whole lot of tedious grind.”
“Last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles and the newly released Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery couldn’t possibly be more different from one another. Both handheld titles offer separate plots and side-adventures featuring the main character assassins from their respective console counterparts. However, that’s about where the main comparisons end. If you were among the many players who were painfully disappointed by the shoddiness and gimmicky gameplay in Altair’s Chronicles, take some comfort in the fact Discovery is a much better example of how a proper portable Assassin’s Creed title on the DS should be done.”
Check out the full review here at Cheat Code Central.
“Activision’s attempt to reach out to a younger, more casual rhythm gaming audience may send an uneasy shudder down the spines of some in the hardcore Guitar Hero crowd, but the scores of tweens and teeny boppers that will surely flock to Band Hero and find themselves hooked on the experience means more money in the bank. Band Hero on the DS isn’t nearly as drenched in pink glitter and mindless pre-teen slang as its console brethren. That’s not a bad thing. However, this ill-fated rock-n-roll ship springs some fatal leaks early on in its voyage.”
“In 2007, Ubisoft made a big splash in the handheld music game world with a nifty little program that turned your DS into a fully functioning, virtual acoustic guitar. Jam Sessions was really more of a music making tool than anything else. It turned out to be a lot of fun for gaming musicians who got a kick out of crafting and performing songs on a handheld system, yet some players were left feeling a little lost due to the lack of any solid goals or gameplay in the title. Developer Plato has made a lot of changes for Jam Sessions 2 in an effort to beef up the musical making capabilities of the program while also offering a stronger gaming component to appease the average player who might not be as inclined to dig deeply into the song-crafting toolbox elements.”
Check out the full review here at Cheat Code Central.
“Mario and his green suited bro have been on some wild and wooly adventures over the years, but their latest goofy quest full of mishaps and mayhem leads them directly into the mouth of the beast. Bowser’s mouth, that is. But he’s not the real anti-hero to be worrying about here. Spend a little time in this shenanigan-filled world and you’re bound to be delighted, once you stop laughing.”
Check out the full review here at IGN’s Green Pixels.
“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.
“Virtual band games are everywhere nowadays — even on handhelds — but what if you want to make your own music instead? Thanks to the efforts of DIY programmers, people have been creating original music using handheld video game hardware since the glory days of the original Game Boy. As handheld gaming technology progresses, the diversity and accessibility among available music creation programs continues to flourish — and even some larger game publishers are getting involved. We’ve pulled together a handful of the best programs available for busting out everything from retro blips and beats to more polished recordings using your favorite handhelds. Whether you’re a novice or master, here’s a little something for everybody.”