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Treasure World

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Aspyr
Developer: Aspyr
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Animal Crossing destroyed the second semester of my senior year of high school. Every day, if I came home and had nothing to do (which was basically every single day), I would boot up the copy I got for Christmas and watch the hours melt away. In the early hours of the morning, my attitude was either "Okay, just five thousand more bells," or "Once I buy this, I'm racking out." Well, admission is the first step in overcoming an addiction, and I certainly admit to one of those. I'm coming dangerously close to another addiction with Aspyr's Treasure World. This innovative leisure game is not for everyone, but it is able to do something I don't think any videogame has ever been able to do: it forces you to get out of the house. But is it any good as a game? Read on.

Treasure World won't wow anyone with its visual presentation, but it is a decent-looking game. It resembles Animal Crossing enough to make a comparison, but since there's no in-game exploration, you'll only be looking at the areas you choose to furnish with objects. There are several animations that you can unlock for the Wish Finder, and they are all really good, even if they're not particularly complex. You can have him act like Dracula or a T-Rex if you want. All in all, not bad.

Treasure World's audio presentation is simple enough, but what is interesting is that it relies almost entirely on the player. If the player makes an impressive Songscape that makes use of a number of different yet pleasant sounds, the game sounds pretty good. Of course, one can simply create a mess of garbled blips and chimes and laugh at how terrible it sounds, as well.


Gameplay:

Star Sweep, an elderly-looking man with a star-shaped hairdo, spends his time cruising the cosmos with a treasure-seeking robot he refers to as the Wish Finder. When his starship runs out of fuel, he makes a crash-landing on Earth. It doesn't take long for him to notice you, and he gives you a job. Your job is to seek out treasures by cleaning the stars in the sky of stardust. That stardust will refuel Star Sweep's ship (ironically named Halley), allowing him and the Wish Finder to continue on their adventures.

How does one perform the job of a cosmic janitor? By finding Wi-Fi signals, of course! Every single Wi-Fi signal you come across will reward you with a treasure, as well as some stardust.

Treasures usually have simple purposes, from new animations and clothes for the Wish Finder to items for one of several Songscapes (a Mario Paint - esque music tool). The Songscape is a giant yard littered with dots. You can place items on dots; the latitude of the dot determines the pitch the item will make, and the longitude marks intervals of time. It's easy to get used to, but it also takes time to make something pleasing to the ears.

You can fully reap the benefits of exploration on Treasure World's website (www.clubtreasureworld.com), which allows you to upload your profile, trade treasures with friends, upload Songscapes, and earn new treasures. I've said this many times, and I'll say it again: every time I see a developer go to these lengths to support their product, the developer and product alike become that much easier to respect.


Difficulty:

There is no difficulty to speak of when it comes to Treasure World. The purpose of this game is not to challenge your reflexes or your mind. However, I can offer this: if you don't go anywhere with your DS, you'll find yourself going nowhere really fast. You simply won't have anything to do in the game if you don't travel often enough. That is the challenge Treasure World presents to players: it is literally telling you "go out and explore, or you will feel like you wasted money on this game."

Perhaps the most difficult part of Treasure World is in getting used to the user interface. Every single option is presented in a blue circle containing a loose visual representation of what you'll be tinkering with. If you want to change the appearance of the Wish Finder's face, you'll have to choose the Wish Finder icon and then tap the circle displaying a silhouette of the Wish Finder whose head is highlighted. It takes a lot of time to memorize what each icon does, but once you've got it down, you'll be flying through the interface.

Most games have a variable level of difficulty. Treasure World's replay value is kind of similar, because only gamers with Marco Polo tendencies will get the most out of the game. If you get absolutely no joy out of exploring the world around you, you'll find the whole thing to be a time-wasting mess. However, if you like that kind of stuff, you'll find Treasure World to have quite a bit of longevity.


Game Mechanics:

Treasure World is basically a number of small gameplay mechanics that feed into a giant one. As a result, the entire package suffers a bit on the gameplay front. Still, the gameplay mechanic at the core of the game is very impressive -- impressive enough to the point where I'm willing to give the game a bit of credit.

I'll put the efficiency of the Wi-Fi detection capabilities in perspective by drawing on a personal experience. I took a trip up to Natchez, Mississippi not that long ago. I decided to test out just how good Treasure World was at detecting Wi-Fi signals. I booted up the game, instructed the Wish Finder to detect stars, closed the DSi, and drove the 300-something miles to Natchez. By the time I had reached my destination, I had picked up quite a number of signals. In fact, I almost had enough to completely refuel Halley.

Not that long ago, I took a trip into town with my DSi open, just to see what kind of signals the game was picking up. Many of the stars are simply the name of the network encountered by the game. I passed by a recruiting office for the Louisiana National Guard, and sure enough, that was the name of the "star." This kind of stuff might not be that fun, but it is amusing to see what it picks up. Plus, you get free in-game stuff!

When the Wish Finder doesn't have his telescope out, it's all about customization, customization, and more customization. We're talking clothes, animations, plants, ninja masks, and much more. If this sounds appealing to you, you'll no doubt get lost in all the stuff you can get in Treasure World.

I've got two final warnings about Treasure World. If you don't like to get out of the house or collect items, you won't like this game at all. However, if you're a travel-prone collection enthusiast, I can say with a straight face that Treasure World has the potential to treat your time the way a hungry dog would a rack of baby back ribs.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Sony PlayStation 3 The Punisher: No Mercy Nintendo Wii Dawn of Discovery

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated