Humans (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew

7.3

Introduction

Like many, more mature, gamers, I first played The Humans around two decades ago on the Atari Lynx (the first colour handheld console). Back then it was called Dinolympics but the premise of getting our pre-historic cousins from one area to another was still the same. This all began with the classic Lemmings of course from developers DMA design. It's difficult to describe just how groundbreaking this gaming concept was at the time and just like many of today's modern games there were many imitators within months. The Humans, is aimed at a whole new generation but will the arcade puzzler win over the Call of Duty obsessed gamer?

Gameplay

Each level (or puzzle) in The Humans begins with a list of objectives. This could be as simple as rescue a caveman but more often than not you'll also have a time limit meaning you'll be required to think fast. If there's something specific you need to locate, the map will helpfully show you where it is before the game begins although actually getting to it is never that simple. This is because of the fragile bridges, impossible jumps and predators and to get past these you'll need to pick up some equipment. The most useful thing is the spear, which can be used as a weapon as well as a kind of pole vault. You may have to 'blow up' other obstacles with the aid of a torch and there's still enough standard platforming (moving platforms, running, jumping, etc) to keep the arcade fanatic in everyone happy. The most useful skill you have at your disposal though, is the fact that you can easily stack up your caveman in order to transform them into a ladder of sorts.

As you progress the levels become larger and the objectives more complicated and with 80 levels, you should be scratching your head for quite some time.

Controls

Because the game plays out like a platformer (with strategy and puzzle elements) then the controls are just like a standard arcade title. D-pad, for moving around and the face buttons for jumping, selecting and using.

Graphics

This game would be just as at home on the GBA but that's not really a problem here. Puzzle games have never really pushed the envelope as far as visuals are concerned. That's not to say that the game looks poor as the 2D environments suit the gameplay perfectly and some of the animations, notably especially the attacking dinosaurs, are very well done.

Sound

There hasn't been a great deal of thought put into the audio (this is a puzzler after all) and gamers will be treated to an updated 'prehistoric' theme which the cavemen grunt and moan as they go about their activities.

Dual screen

Other than the ability to scroll around the gaming area, nothing really.

Final comments

If you are a fan of the likes of Lemmings, Baldies, Sheep or even the original Dinolympics then you are likely to revel in the 80 or so puzzling challenges here. The only downside is that making a mistake still forces you right back to the beginning of the level so forward planning is essential. Still if you are on the look out for a new puzzler then you won't go far wrong by spending a little time with The Humans.

Pro: Loads of Levels, Challenging Puzzles
Con: Make a Mistake and It's Back to The Beginning.
Final score: 7.3

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Boxart of Humans (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Blue Monkey Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver

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