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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Five DSiWare games you should own

The DSi might soon be replaced by the 3DS, but the beauty of DSiWare is that it can be transferred over to the new console. So there's no better time than to stock up on the must-haves, ready for the new device. With that in mind, here's five (but by no means all) DSiWare games you really should have.

Aura-Aura Climber

For 200 points, you get a basic jumping, obstacle-dodging, high score chase. For 200 points there's not a whole lot of content, but the reason this game is on our list because the content that is there is really, really addictive stuff.






You take control of a little star guy, and have to help him climb as much as possible by jumping from hook to hook. The catch is there are some deadly obstacles along the way, and a clock that is constantly ticking down.

It's addictive stuff, trying to better your previous top score, and working yourself into a rhythm soon becomes a mesmerizing experience.

Simple, but charming music and visual effects add to the overall impression that while not a fully-fledged game, Aura-Aura Climber is much more than a simple flash game. The 200-point DSiWare shop has its fair share of bad games and shovelware, but this is not one of those.


Picturebook Games: The Royal Bluff

The Royal Bluff is a deceptive little game. On the surface, it's a basic board game, where you need to figure out which colour token your opponents have, while concealing the ones that you've been randomly dealt.






But like a good board game, The Royal Bluff has a lot of strategy sitting behind it. Bluff too hard, and it'll start costing you points. Don't bluff enough and your opponent will figure out what colours you have... Costing you points.

There's nothing quite as satisfying as pulling off a successful bluff, and thus there is a real sense of satisfaction whenever you win.

With download play supported, it's relatively easy to get a game going with a friend, too. But considering even the computer AI puts up an entertaining challenge, The Royal Bluff is a game that will happily sit in storage for a long time to come.


KuBos

Otherwise known as precipice, KuBos is an Art Style game, and for our mind it's the best of the lot. You take control of a little man standing on a grid of blocks. As more blocks drop from above, blocks beneath you drop away, and while dodging those obstacles the little man needs to climb his way to the top, diffuse bombs, and change the colour of the blocks by walking over as many as possible.






Once again, this is a simple game in execution, but a compelling one. Trying to better the top score requires more skill, faster reactions and smarter strategy, so there is a real sense of satisfaction when a new score is earned.

With two very different game modes, this game will keep you going for a surprisingly long time.

Throw in an artistic presentation that suits the Art Style moniker, and KuBos is a brilliant action puzzle title. If there is only one DSiWare you buy, make it this one.


Wakugumi Monochrome Puzzle

It's not called "Art Style", but Wakugumi is a very artistic game. From developers Mitchell, the same folks behind DS launch title Polarium, Wakugumi makes excellent use of minimal colour to create a very clean, classy aesthetic.






The gameplay is anything but calming though. Wakugumi requires you to draw boxes around either black, or white little squares. Drawing multi boxes simultaneously will boost the score, but you're under serious time pressure here.

For 500 points, it's also a very fully-featured game. We suspect it was originally meant to be a full retail package. It's the kind of game that is initially infuriating, as it does take so practice to be able to 'see' the boxes you'll be drawing, but stick with it, and Wakugumi reveals itself to be a hidden treasure on DSiWare.


Zenonia

It might have no competition worth mentioning, but Zenonia is the best RPG available on DSiWare.






It's not because of the quality of the plot, which is basic and traditional (though is at least not embarrassing, unlike its competition), and it's not because of the aesthetics and music - Zenonia looks and sounds like an iPhone port.

Why it's worth downloading is for sheer length (20+ hours), and sheer entertainment value. An action-RPG, Zenonia's fighting never gets dull, and there is a nice variety of enemies to be fighting.

Don't go in expecting Secret of Mana, because Zenonia is not that. What it is, though, is an easy to pick up and play RPG that will last well past it's initial asking price. It's also the kind of game anyone, RPG fan or otherwise, can enjoy.


Five DSiWare games you should own
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