Specific Ratings

Learning CurveA+
Replay ValueA+

Pros and Cons

  • Much variety in game types, all of them fun
  • Perfect learning curve, almost nonexistent
  • Stellar graphics; each planet has a distinct look
  • Excellent soundtrack, with something for all
  • 100% awesome stylus-only control
  • Fast pace is not for everyone
  • Not enough Cons for this to look balanced

Meteos (Nintendo DS)

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Some of the most fun and frantic puzzle action ever!



For some time, the Nintendo DS was lacking in the puzzle department. PSP users had their Lumines, and DS users were left in the dust.

Then Meteos came along.

Meteos is a great game to show off the DS's touch screen with. You can play the entire game, from the start screen to the final cut-scene, using only the stylus. And it works flawlessly. You won't EVER find yourself wishing you had a full-fledged controller in your hand, and your hands will never want to revert to the d-pad and buttons.

The premise of the game is a space-themed twist on the puzzle formula: as blocks rain down from the top of your screen, you need to move them vertically within their columns by sliding the stylus. When you line up 3 or more of the same color (vertically or horizontally), they will ignite and shoot skyward, carrying all the blocks above them up with them. The goal is to blast the Meteos blocks out of your "atmosphere" and thus send them off to other players' planets. When your screen fills up with meteos, a Planet Nova occurs and (in most game types, where you only have 1 life) you are Annihilated. However, Meteos is not for every puzzle junkie, because unlike other puzzle games where you can set it down, eat lunch, and come back without consequence, looking away from the screen for mere seconds can seal your fate in Meteos. It's fast paced and frantic, but if that's your thing then you're in for some serious fun.

To make things a little more complicated, however, there are items, Rare Metals, and tons of different planets. Items add quite a bit of variety to the gameplay, as though it didn't already have enough, but can be somewhat of a mixed bag. For instance, there are various types of Bombs that can be activated to countdown by tapping them with the stylus, then launched to other players' planets to blow up some of their blocks, meaning they'll have less blocks to bombard you with. However, when I'm in a bad fix and there are bombs on my screen, I just set 'em off and leave them to free me up some space and save me from Annihilation. In fact, sometimes the computers themselves have kept me alive with items they launched, giving me the time to retaliate and blockify (my word) them into oblivion.

Planets are crucial to the game and very well done, with each planet boasting different graphics, atmosphere, and soundtrack. The atmosphere of a planet affects how blocks launch. There are some fiery planets with little atmosphere where ignited meteos shoot away so fast your head'll spin (Hevendor cough). On the contrary, there are watery planets that require multiple ignitions for blocks to clear the atmosphere. Most interestingly, there are planets where certain types of ignitions are lightning-fast and others do absolutely nothing. The funny thing is, in Star Trip mode (see below), whatever planet you choose as your home planet is what your computer opponents have to play on, so it's possible to make things easier for yourself by handing your enemies a hellishly hard planet.

Finally, Rare Metals are simply special and rare blocks that, after they're launched, can be used in Fusion Mode to create certain items (see below).

There are several game types, ensuring that everyone's got something to suit them. There's Simple mode, Star Trip, Deluge, Time War, and a Tutor. Simple is the most straightforward of them all. You specify your home planet, set number of lives or a time limit, set difficulty and computer skill, create up to 3 computer players, form teams with them (optionally), and play a game. It's that Simple.

Then there's Star Trip, the most fleshed-out mode. In this mode, one can choose one of three planet systems to travel through, ultimately ending up at Planet Meteo to defeat the source of Meteos and see one of a plethora of often-humorous endings. You can choose the straight route version, where you battle one planet after another to reach Planet Meteo. Then there's the "tree" route, where you begin at the tip of an expanding triangle of planets. You can choose your route through these planets as you defeat each one and end up at any of the various Planet Meteos that make up the wide end of the triangle. Each one results in a different ending. Finally, there's the "freeform" route, where planets are scattered and in no particular order. Planets now fight you in groups of two, and at each one you receive a Mission beforehand, such as Launch 200 Meteos! If you complete the mission and win the battle, you can choose your next destination. If you don't complete the mission, the game chooses for you, usually the more difficult one.

Deluge mode is present for those who wish to test their mettle in an endless Meteos match. Play until you're annihilated, and fill up those high score slots! It's not that easy, however -- the longer you survive, the faster the blocks rain down on you. This mode makes great practice for those times in Star Trip when you're trying to hold out against a crazy onslaught of blocks from your opponents.

Time War mode is perfect for those with a group of Meteos-playing buddies handy. Just like with the mini-games in Super Mario 64 DS, there's a lot of fun to be had trading a DS back and forth, seeing who can launch 100 Meteos the fastest, or who can launch the most in five minutes. Beware of the 1000-Meteo War, however, it's a real brute.

Finally, just to top it all off, the game designers have given you a great way to make all those launched Meteos worth it. It's called Fusion mode, where one can fuse launched Meteos to create new items, playable planets, Rare Metals, and the soundtracks of the various planets. This is one of those few games where you'd actually want the soundtracks available to listen to in your leisure time, because they're quite impressive. Each of the many planets has its own completely unique soundtrack. Igniting Meteos and other acts add little riffs or sounds to the soundtrack also, giving the player a hand in putting together a tune from the sounds as you play.

Taking all of this content into consideration, not to mention the fact that it's all top-quality, there is really nothing to complain about in Meteos. Sure, not everyone will enjoy it because of its speed, but everything it does, it does well. If this lengthy review hasn't already made your decision, borrow or rent it and give it a try. In fact, if a friend has it, he or she can download a demo onto your DS. How cool is that?

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