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Game & Watch: Judge - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Game & Watch: Judge

DSiWare | Nintendo | 1 Player / 2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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4th April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Game & Watch is an iconic character whose early beginnings were in the form of handheld games designed from the years 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. Our first review will take a look at Game and Watch: Judge, a game that requires quick thinking and reflexes.

    Essentially, two players hold up a sign with a number on it at exactly the same time, and you must quickly determine who has the higher number. If the number on your sign is bigger, than you get to whack your opponent with your hammer. If the number is lower, you'll need to dodge the attack. If the numbers are exactly the same, points will be awarded to whomever uses their hammer first. You'll earn points with every successful action, but if you whack or dodge when you're not supposed to (which will happen often), the other player will earn points. The first one to get 99 points wins.

    The game is entirely button-based and all the action takes place on the top screen. You can play using either the D-Pad or the buttons on the right of your DSi. Pressing the X or Y Button will whack your hammer, while the B or A Button will dodge. A similar vertical/horizontal setup is used for the D-Pad, whereby you can press up or left to whack, and either down or right to dodge. The actions are mapped well so it boils down to whichever setup you feel more comfortable with. Because you only get a split-second to react, Judge is one of those games that are fun for those with speedy eyes and fast reflexes.

In Game A, you play on your own against a CPU, trying to aim for a high-score. Once you get through an entire game, you'll unlock Score Select, which will allow you to adjust the starting score in increments of 10. This is a great feature for those who may not have the patience to suit through a full 99-point game. If you manage to get a perfect game, you'll have achieved the highest score possible and should this occur, there will be little reason to return by yourself. 

    Thankfully, what makes this game a more worthwhile investment is the Game B option, which allows you and a friend to play using the same system. One player will use the D-Pad to control the man on the left, whilst the other will use the buttons for the player on the right. The rules are identical to 'Game A' and you still have to get to 99 points first. The thing is, not everyone has the attention span to play a full 99-point game. For that reason, most will miss having the Score Select feature from 'Game A' once you've played Judge with a friend once. There's also no records in Game B (not even the number of wins), so it really is just mindless fun.

    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 portion of the game. As to the reason why, nobody knows at the moment. But to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a new application called the "Game & Watch Clock". 

The menu presentation is 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 actually made me think more 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. 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 to hear these once again, and possible even get you to reminisce on the past.

    Game and Watch: Judge isn't terribly strong but for $2, it's not a bad purchase. The single-player might wear off after the first few plays, but thankfully, the Score Select is great for those that may have a limited attention span for simple games. Other than nostalgia or curiousity, the multiplayer should be the main reason why you give this a try. If you think some of your friends or family members can have some fun with this, then give Game & Watch: Judge a go. 

20/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Not complicated at all, requires quick thinking, controls can be suited to what you feel most comfortable with
Presentation 7/10 - Simple with a touch of elegance and nostalgia for good measure, good layout overall
Enjoyment 3/5 - A bit thin on your own, 99-Point games may seem long for some, multiplayer can be good for a few laughs
Extra Content 3/5 - Unlockable 'Score Select' option, can play with a friend using the same DSi, high-scores to strive for but only in 'Game A'

Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Game & Watch: Judge
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