Shorts (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
Some time ago now Majseco announced a DS title based on the new Robert Rodriguez big screen outing which was gaining a great deal of positive coverage and things did look very promising indeed. Sadly, the film didn't do that well and, as a result, the DS game never saw the light of day outside of the USA and Canada. Generally, we would just bypass a game like this but the with so many media outlets optimistic in the preview stages we just had to give it a look. So, it this just the usual movie tie-in or maybe (and hopefully) something a little more entertaining?
Following closely in the footsteps of the movie, Shorts has you playing as one of a handful of residents of Black Falls. An unremarkable place where every house looks the same and every resident is employed by Black Box Unlimited: the makers of the Black Box. This is a do it all gadget which everyone seems to want and, as a result, the parents of 11 year old Toe Thompson work long hours which leaves the young boy somewhat lonely. That is until a mysterious rainbow coloured rock falls from the sky and, better still, it just happens to grant wishes. Any wishes.
This allows for some imaginative gameplay but like the movie, your first mission will be playing as Nose Noteworthy as he attempts to clear his house of Sentient Boogers which are none too friendly. This all plays out like a standard platformer although you do have the ability to shrink enemies with a specially adapted Ray Gun. Loogie Short dominates the next adventure as a Medieval Castle has popped up in his back yard. This is probably the strongest of all the levels and you even have a flying dragon, at your disposal, allowing you to reach higher platforms with ease. The final section features the wonderfully named Helvetica Black and, our hero, Toe Thompson (both of whom can hover) attempting to mop up the remainder of the high tech mess. While you are unlikely to discover anything in the levels you haven't seen before the different abilities certainly separate this from the usual movie tie-in. Sadly, there's no Multiplayer and once you have completed this rather short adventure, there's little incentive to go back for more.
The control is probably one of the games highlights and not only is it very responsive but the whole thing has been kept very simple too. This is because rather than giving your characters a weapon, you'll simply jump on top of enemies in order to dispose of them. This brings your controlling options down to move and jump but while this could still be problematic, the collision detection is so tight; it's likely to please even the most critical of gamers.
Keeping in mind that this is a budget offering, the visuals are actually quite pleasing and the characters have been thoughtfully animated. The levels have been well designed too with the 3D effects, especially during the boss stages, making this slightly more appealing than the usual movie tie-in.
The soundtrack isn't too bad at all here with a rock piece accompanying the title screen. The actual in-game music is a little more sedate but fits the games theme perfectly. There is some voice acting too but while the narrator speaks all of his lines the actual game characters only have a few mutterings at their disposal.
While there's not a great deal of use for the stylus the developers have at least used it in an ingenious way which does actually enhance you gaming experience. This occurs when you collect one of the many 'magic' lines throughout the game allowing you to simply draw a platform (or barrier) anywhere you wish on the screen. The nice thing about this, of course, is that by allowing the user complete freedom, the whole experience feels somewhat less linear.
If you did enjoy the movie (and as we said, not many people did) this is a perfect accompaniment and, as far as tie-in's go, it's actually an entertaining little game. There's not too much originality to be had here and the production values probably aren't as good as we've come to expect from the DS but you have to keep in mind that this is a budget release. The only real problem we had with Shorts is the (short) length but for all the younger gamers out there, you could still do far worse than spend a few hours in the company of residents of Black-Falls.
Pro: Enjoyable Platformer, Great Controls, and Budget Price.
Con: A Little Too Short (like the title), Not Very Original
Final score: 6.2
|Genre:||Platformer / Puzzle|
|Developer:||Artificial Mind & Movement|