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Electroplankton Marine-Crystals - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Electroplankton Marine-Crystals

DSiWare | Nintendo | 1 Player 
| Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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6th April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Earlier this year, Nintendo released 10 Electroplankton titles to the DSiWare service. Originally part of the DS game with the same name, Big N ultimately decided to split each Electroplankton in the game into a separate release, costing 200 points a pop. This was a great idea since it allows interested persons to pick and choose the best of the bunch and pass on the rest without having to buy them all in a pack of sorts. Our second Electroplankton review will take a closer look at Marine-Crystals which creates beautiful melodies with every tap. If you have a musical background at all, then you'll likely find Electroplankton Marine-Crystals to be full of rich melodies, perfect for when you need to unwind or put your mind at ease.

    The main Performance Mode is the central option of choice, allowing you to freely create your own sound clips. Upon entering this mode, you'll find a large group of creatures that resemble snowflakes, floating in a tank of water. Tapping one of these adorable creatures will produce tones infused with wintery sounds. Each individual crystal represents a portion of the 'Do Re Mi' musical scale. Although they're not listed anywhere on-screen, the sounds they make are certainly recognizable for those who are well-familiar with the scale. Furthermore, Studying their relative positions can help you make the sounds you desire.

    As you tap on more and more crystals, they'll begin to switch places with one another and bounce across the screen. Over time, though, if they're not touched, they'll slowly go back to their original spot. Tapping on a crystal repeatedly will cause it to grow, and even increase in tone. Dragging your stylus across the screen can produce additional effects amongst multiple crystals, and when they are strung properly, they serve as a nice accompaniment to the melodies you're trying to create. If you'd like to get a better look at the action on the top screen, you can control the camera using the X Button to zoom in, or the Y Button to zoom out.

    Pressing the Select Button will produce multiple effects. By doing so, you can change the formation of the crystals from being arranged in a grid to a double ring. With each arrangement change, the shape of the crystals will also be altered, whether it be in the form of a triangle, a hexagon, or a pentagon. The shape of the crystals will determine the tone of sounds that are made. The crystals will emit sounds that you'd normally hear from pianos, xylophones, music boxes, and even wind chimes. These are very pleasing to hear, especially if you have any sort of experience playing these instruments in real-life.

In Audience Mode, rather than making melodies entirely on your own, the game will automatically trigger a series of crystals for you. You can jump in at any time by touching one or more crystals, and with the backdrop of the automated taps, the sounds you create can be enhanced even further. Unlike in Performance Mode, you can't change the formations and the instruments manually. After a few minutes, the game will automatically reset, switching the crystals up a bit. Even if you don't take part in the action at all, the noises made in this mode are nice to hear when you're reading, or when you just want some peace of mind.

    The biggest complaint about the Electroplankton titles is that you're not able to save your compositions at all. It would've been nice if Nintendo added this feature, even though each title is pretty much the same as it was on the DS release (save for a few name changes). Still, there are other ways to record a musical masterpiece that you quite like in any of the Electroplankton titles, such as using a jack that connects from the DS to your PC. It's just that it would've been nice if Nintendo added that in for convenience sake.

    Electroplankton Marine-Crystals will appeal especially to those who are fond of percussion instruments. The melodies that one can create are very appealing, and it's something you can sit down with for a few minutes and just relax for a while. 
If you enjoy the soothing sounds, you might find yourself drawn into it, coming back semi-regularly (especially during the Winter months). 
Marine-Crystals isn't the strongest of the releases, but it can hold its own, especially because of the musical potential that exists. If you've taken a liking to the other releases, then why not throw down the $2 and give this a try.

23/30 - Good

Functionality 8/10 - 
Lots of potential to create some beautiful sounds, 
Audience Mode is nice to listen to even without manual feedback
Presentation 8/10 - 
Simple yet somewhat elegant, the crystals are cute-looking and can be arranged in multiple formations, ding's with a wintery feel
Lasting Appeal 3/5 - 
Good for a few minutes at a time, likely will see more use during December/January, can hold its own against the other releases
Value 4/5 - 
Reasonable asking price, those with a musical background will appreciate it more, can create multiple sequences, can't save your work

Equivalent to a score of 77% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Electroplankton Marine-Crystals
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