Following the news of the DS Lite [story here], Nintendo fever is upon us once more, so we’ve taken a look at a couple of games. Not content to review any old licensed multi-platform tosh, we decided to pick two titles that show what original-minded developers can do with the dual screen wonder.
**** (out of five) Released 31/3/06
First up, the slightly unsettling Trauma Center (above left). You’re rookie doctor Dr Derek Stiles – a distinctly un-Japanese name for this completely manga-esque game. With surprisingly little introduction, you’re straight into the operating theatre, wielding your stylus as a scalpel and performing operations against the clock.
Thankfully, your unfeasibly attractive nurse gives you hints, or shouts at you if you do things in the wrong order. It’s tense stuff, with the patients’ vital signs taking an instant drop if don’t pay close attention to what you’re doing. Despite a cartoonish feel, and blessedly unrealistic sound effects, it’s not a game for the squeamish. Oh, and there’s a plot in there somewhere about a mysterious epidemic…
***** (out of five) Released 21/4/06
Take a break from the blood and guts and into the utterly pleasant world of Toshio Iwai, ‘legendary’ Japanese artist. Electroplankton (above right) isn’t strictly a game. Instead, you create musical and visual effects by poking, prodding and generally manipulating ten different types of Electroplankton. Some are simple, binkety-boink with your stylus types, whereas others let you record your voice as a sample over various drum loops. One lets you create custom tracks using old NES game sound effects.
It is, without a doubt, quite amazingly captivating and alarmingly time-consuming. Electroplankton is further proof that, PSP or not, you need to have a DS in your gadget collection.