Friday, January 02, 2009


Maboshi's Arcade

Maboshi's Arcade has an interesting concept -- it's a small simulation of a classic video game arcade that goes right in your living room.

When you start the program, three windows appear on the screen, side by side. They're in the classic portrait aspect ratio and everything. To begin a game, you simply drag your Mii face down to an empty window, choose your game, and start playing. The really interesting thing is, all of the windows behave independently from each other, so players can wander in and out at will. It's exactly as if there are three arcade machines on your TV set, complete with self-running "Attract" modes.

The program features three different games. (And it should be said that any game can be selected from any window; you aren't limited to games that the other players aren't using as you would be in a real arcade.) They have a classic arcadey feel, all experimental and abstract and such.

Circle is a game where you control a ball rolling around inside a circle, and by pressing the A button, you control which direction it rolls. The object is to clear out all of the enemies before they escape the circle.

Line is a game where you control a "core" with a protective stick that automatically rotates around it. By pressing the A button, you can fling yourself in the direction that the stick's momentum takes you. The object is to knock away blocks and enemies with the stick while flinging yourself up the screen toward the end of the level.

Square is a sort of turn-based Snake game, only instead of trying to eat things, you're trying to burn away blocks with your long, fiery tail. Again, you're trying to reach a goal at the top of the screen. You get full directional control with the D pad, and every time you move, the screen scrolls slightly downward and any fire you've set burns a little more. The object is to make your way to the goal without letting any unburned blocks touch the bottom of the screen or wandering into the blast radius of a bomb or trapping yourself such that you have no place to move.

All very simple games. It's keeping quite a bit with the feel of the Art Style games that Nintendo's been pushing on Wii Ware lately. They're good in the sense that you may feel compelled to try again as soon as you die, but I don't think any of them are really break-away hits. They serve their function -- they feel like old-school arcade games.

The "effect system" is... all right, I guess. Basically, as certain things fly off the screen in one game, they'll cross over into whatever window they're flung into. Most of these effects are beneficial to the recipient. It's billed as the game's big hook, but... I dunno, I just don't see it.

Much more interesting to me is the DS version. When you've completed one entire level in each game, you unlock the option to download a version of Maboshi's Arcade for the DS. This one takes the classic arcade concept in a slightly different direction -- this is about the home version.

If you were playing games in the early 80s, you know what I'm talking about. Home game systems couldn't emulate arcade machines, so home versions were rewritten from scratch, with much simpler graphics and usually some small changes to gameplay. And so it is with Maboshi's Arcade for the DS. All of the games are presented with a much more digital, toned-down display compared to its console big brother.

But the really neat thing? You hold the DS book-style to play it. All of the games are played using the control pad. The physical aspect of the game is adorable. The screen is in classic arcade portrait aspect, controlled with a single joypad positioned just below the screen -- it looks like an old arcade machine. And the DS itself opens and shuts like a book between play sessions, which makes it feel like some sort of magical game book.

This isn't really a huge deal, but for 800 Wii points, it's a pleasant enough diversion for folks who miss the days of sticking quarters into a Centipede machine.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?