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Meteos: Disney Magic

Score: 86%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Q Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 4 (WiFi)
Genre: Puzzle/ Family/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

On the surface, Meteos: Disney Magic looks like a re-skinned version of one of the DS' most challenging puzzles games. But, below the surface, the Disney version tweaks the original's formula, resulting in an experience just as addictive as the first.

You donít have to look far to see the Disney influence. All of the levels are themed after Disney movies, though the choice seems to skew more towards recently re-released (on DVD) and newer films. Classics like Snow White and Beauty and the Beast are nowhere to be found, though movies like Nightmare Before Christmas, Lilo & Stitch, Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean are.

All of the artwork is nice, especially the backgrounds for each level. Artwork also shows up on the side panel, though I honestly couldnít tell you what goes on in that area during gameplay due to the gameplay side requiring so much attention. Blocks are also appropriately themed, though some work better than others. For example, the Lion King blocks are easy to tell apart while the Little Mermaid ones all look the same.

Sound is themed for each level and though many of the songs from the films donít show up in levels, they still work.


Gameplay:

Meteos: Disney Magic follows the same simple gameplay as the original. Blocks fall from the top of the screen, which you arrange into lines of three or more matching blocks by dragging the stylus across the screen. Once a line is formed, the blocks -- and any blocks above them -- rocket up into the air. The goal is to launch the groups of blocks off the screen, though this is trickier than it sounds. Every level has its own way that gravity works; in one level the blocks might fly off the screen with very little force, while in another it might only rocket up a few blocks in height. In these situations, you have to create additional lines within the already airborne group, giving it another boost.

The first, and most noticeable, change is that the game is played by turning the DS on its side. This turns out to be an improvement since it gives you more space to play around with. Another major tweak is that you can now form lines horizontally, whereas you could only make vertical lines in the original. At first, this may seem like it would make the game easier, especially for players who have mastered the original, but it ends up adding completely new strategies. Besides, blocks fall quicker and more frequently in this new version -- so the added movement helps a lot.

Challenge and Multiplayer modes are available, as is a Story mode, which involves Tinkerbell and Jiminy Cricket trying to set the Disney stories right. Challenge has you playing for the highest score, while in Multiplayer you can take on up to four other players from one cartridge.

The only thing that Meteos: Disney Magic is missing is worthwhile unlockable content. Really, the only thing worth unlocking is Expert mode; the rest is nothing more than a bunch of new backgrounds that, as has already been pointed out, you arenít likely to take much notice of during the game anyway.


Difficulty:

Meteos: Disney Edition offers enough challenge for newcomers and masters. The default difficulty is challenging, even for people who have played the original thanks to the new gameplay tweaks. Younger players or even some casual players who happen to be Disney fans may want to stick to Easy mode before jumping into harder difficulty levels. Even on Easy, some levels are still challenging, mainly because of the artwork on the blocks. You can also try and meet each levelís special requirements.

An unlockable Expert mode, which limits you to vertical movement, is recommended for only the best of the best players.


Game Mechanics:

Meteos: Disney Edition uses only the stylus and touch screen. Dragging the stylus across blocks moves them around the screen. The movement is pretty loose and allows you to move blocks around quickly Ė sometimes too quickly. If youíre not careful, you might end up pushing blocks into the wrong spots.

A number of special powers are available during the game, adding more tactics. Nitro gives you an added bit of boost when launching groups of blocks into the air, while Slow causes the blocks to fall slower. Horizontal Movement ability is available in Expert mode.

The number of tweaks and changes to the original Meteos formula gives Meteos: Disney Edition a fun, new feel. The Disney veneer may not be for everyone, but it is worth looking past if youíre into puzzle games.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Windows Maelstrom Sony PlayStation 2 God of War II

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated