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Game & Watch: Flagman - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Game & Watch: Flagman

DSiWare | Nintendo | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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23rd April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Game & Watch is an iconic character that most will likely associate with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. His early beginnings were in the form of handheld games that Nintendo designed for the portable scene from 1980 to 1991. Since then, some of the games have been re-released into collections on the GBA thanks to the Game & Watch Gallery series, and Game and Watch Collection available exclusively via Club Nintendo. Now, Nintendo is bringing Game & Watch to DSiWare, much like what was done with the Electroplankton titles. One of these titles is Game & Watch: Flagman, a simple game based on a familiar concept.

    In Game A, a bandana-wearing sailor will show you a sequence of numbered flags and it's your job to memorize it. Once the animation is finished, it'll be your turn to repeat the same order before the timer runs out. With each successful turn, you'll get one more number added to your list of things to remember. When you input a number incorrectly, you'll lose a life and be forced to try again. But once you lose all 3 lives, your game will end and your score will be finalized. If your high-score is up to snuff with your previous attempts, it'll get recorded on the Rankings table.

    As with all titles in this series, the game is entirely button-based and all the action takes place on the top screen. The control scheme is well thought out and it feels pretty natural playing on the DSi. Pressing Up on the D-Pad will raise Flag 1 while pressing Down will raise Flag 3. And Flag's 2 and 4 are raised using the X and B, respectively. The setup is easy to get used to and it's unlikely that it will get in the way of your gameplay experience.

    The main appeal stems from testing your memory faculties to see how long you can survive as you strive to beat your best record. It's not like this 'Simon Says' principle hasn't been done before; even mini-game compilations on the Wii have toyed with this concept. For instance, Rayman Raving Rabbids used this as a foundation for one of its mini-games, using colour, speed, and even humor to make the game difficult, yet slightly-enjoyable. Don't be expecting those kinds of extras in Flagman, though. This concept is used in one of its simplest forms, but in spite of this, if you enjoy games of this nature, then you may find this enjoyable.

    Surprisingly enough, Game B feels like a different game altogether, using the same character, but with a different mechanic altogether. The sailor will raise a single flag and you have a limited time frame to press the corresponding button on your system. As you clear more and more flags, the time window you have to enter the button will reduce, to the point where you'll need to have good hand-eye co-ordination to press forward.
This sub-option feels more like a follow up to Game & Watch: Judge, since it's also a test of reflexes. T
he game has a maximum of 99 Points that can be obtained, meaning that even if you go past that mark, that's the highest amount that will be recorded on the high-score table. For those that become good and like to test their skill level, it's a shame that scores can't go farther than this. Once you fill the Rankings table with a score of 99, you'll lose some motivation to come back often.

    In addition to the standard play option, Game A and Game B also feature a Score Select option where you can begin the game at any single-point interval that you've cleared. Keep in mind, though, that using this option will null whatever achievements you acquire. From the Main Menu, you can reset your data, head back to the DSi Menu or access the Help manual. There's also a 'Time' mode which will show a demo reel for the game with a simple clock. This mode probably would've had more substance had it not been altered, but Nintendo decided to remove the alarm feature from this release for whatever reason. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a new application called the "Game & Watch Clock". 

    The menus are pretty straight-forward but it does have a slight nostalgic aspect to it. This can also be seen in the menu's music, but it makes me think of a scene from an Ace Attorney game. During gameplay, there's no actual music that takes place, which is in line with the original release of this game. What you will hear, though, are constant beeping and error sounds. And if you've ever played this game in its original format, it'll likely bring a smile to your face as you reminisce on memories from the past.

    Flagman feels a bit weak in the grand scheme of things, but it can be fun for a while. This game best encompasses the whole feel that Nintendo was going for with these releases, "a mixture of novelty and nostalgia". There's nothing special about it, but if you've never experienced it before and enjoy memory games, give it a try. Obviously, it's not something you'll be playing every day, but there's adequate reason for you to return to make it worth the $2.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - Memorize sequences in 'Game A', quickly press corresponding buttons in 'Game B', gets increasingly difficult, good controls
Presentation 7/10 - Gameplay doesn't feature colour like some of the other releases, still maintains a classy look
Enjoyment 3/5 - Somewhat fun if you enjoy testing yourself with memory games, second option is good for those with quick reflexes
Extra Content 4/5 - High-scores to strive for in both modes, feels like two different games, slightly-disappointing high-score cap in 'Game B'

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Game & Watch: Flagman
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