Meteos: Disney Magic

March 26, 2007

Meteos is one of the best puzzle games available for the DS. It was light on story, which made sense, but it made up for it in spades with its addictive gameplay and rewarding mechanics. It’s difficult to create a sequel to a puzzle game without changing what made it great because puzzle games lean so heavily on their core gameplay. There’s not usually a complex story to continue or characters to revisit. Most puzzle sequels are more like expansion packs containing more puzzles than actual sequels. Meteos: Disney Magic, however, has changed the central gameplay mechanic and added a coat of Disney paint to the critically-acclaimed puzzler.

The biggest change from the original Meteos in the Disney version is the addition of horizontal movement. It used to be that blocks could only be moved vertically. This created a challenge, especially on planets with high gravity. The differences in gravity remain, but the addition of horizontal movement makes Meteos: Disney Magic a mind-numbingly simple game to play. In making the game more accessible to a younger audience, an audience more in-tune with the tone and content of Disney’s films, the original game’s audience and more capable players have been alienated. Compounding this problem is the fact that this new feature can’t be turned off. It can be turned off by unlocking expert mode, but it would be nice to have the option to not play in easy mode right from the get go.

An easy mode option that can’t be turned off, however, is Meteos: Disney Magic‘s orientation. The DS is held like a book. This makes the game easier in two important ways. The field is smaller horizontally and larger vertically. Both of these alterations serve to make the game simpler, and the orientation can’t be returned to that of the original game.

The second screen, being without touch functionality, can’t be used for stylus-centric gameplay, and it isn’t used to deliver any useful information to the player (not that I can think of any). It is used to display art from the current level. Characters from The Lion King, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other Disney films look on as you attempt to launch blocks off the top of the touch screen. The branding is blatant, but at least it isn’t intrusive.

Puzzle games are made for multiplayer. I still break out my copy of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo because it’s so much fun to play with a friend. Chu Chu Rocket gets pulled out regularly, too. Meteos: Disney Magic does offer multiplayer, but not Wi-Fi multiplayer, and all I can think is A

Score: 1/5

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