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Globulos Party - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Globulos Party

DSiWare | GlobZ | 1 Player / 2 Players (local multiplayer)
 | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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6th April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

After a full year of development, GlobZ has released their first DSiWare game, Globulos Party. This game's origins stem from an online flash game developed by the same team. Now that the game is in handheld format, does Globulos Party work well as a portable multiplayer title?

    The game opens with some short cutscenes where the king of the land is looking for a successor to his lofty throne. You'll need to prove your worth as a potential royalty figure by amassing crowns as you face unique rivals. But before you can actually begin playing, you'll need to choose two characters that will represent you in the games you play. One of your choices will serve as your main while your second choice will be a backup for when the colours of your rival's character match your own. Don't worry if you choose the ugliest one of the bunch, you can always change your choice later via the Main Menu. 

    Just because the developers have focused on the "party" appeal with this release does not mean that solo players will have little to do. There are a total of 150 crowns that players can collect as they play each of the games. Each individual selection contains 3 different opportunities for you to obtain rewards by facing CPU opponents. As you defeat more and more opponents, you'll not only receive Bronze, Silver and Gold Crowns, but you'll also unlock new characters to choose from. Playing on your own gives you the opportunity to develop your own tactics that you can take advantage of in multiplayer. Sure it's not going to bring you lasting enjoyment, but it should provide you with an adequate reason to return to it.

    There are a total of 20 games, most of which serve as variations on the premise that oversees the challenges. The game's main mechanics are founded upon turn-based gameplay where both players have to make their move before the timer runs out, then, all moves are executed simultaneously. Players tap the stylus on the desired character and simply by dragging and holding the stylus, you can set the direction of travel and the amount of power to apply to its reach. The simplistic nature of the gameplay helps lay the foundation for the game's moderate successes.

You'll participate in events where you'll perform such tasks as racing to a pre-determined goal, engage in a battle for supremacy in an arena, or be the first to obtain a set number of points. You'll likely find the mini-games to be fairly straight-forward, but naturally, some activities are more fun than others. In 'Monster', for example, two teams must avoid a menacing robot for as long as they can within an enclosed arena. Every turn, the creature will eliminate the closest character with a deadly laser, until only one remains. This is actually one of the best mini-games in the package since the multiplayer is a good deal of fun. 

    Roughly 90% of the games included in the collection feature a second, third, or even fourth gameplay variant. This usually constitutes a slightly different play method, and/or playing on a different field. For example, 'Monster 2' features a similar mechanic as the first in that your goal is still to avoid the robot as long as possible. But at the end of each turn, the robot will create an explosion depending on where he stops, which will create a hole in the arena. The variants generally don't really offer anything new and are really just different ways of playing the same game.

    It goes without saying that Globulos Party is best enjoyed with a friend, and as such, the game provides you with 3 different ways to do just that. You can play in tandem with another person by sharing one DSi system, but this is the least ideal way of playing, since the action may appear quite slow for first-time players. For that reason, the game's Wireless Play feature is much more efficient, provided that both of you have a copy of the game. But if not, don't fret, because the game also incorporated DS Download Play - something really encouraging for a multiplayer game like this. The developers have done a good job at tailoring this game to the casual market, resulting in a meritable multiplayer experience. When you consider the nature of the mini-games, Globulos Party can definitely be labelled as a good, bite-sized gaming experience that well suits the portable platform.

The scope of the games may not be big in themselves but it's this kind of approach that has lead to good game design, with a few exceptions. Games like Sumo feature decent concepts, but they testify to the fact that the game could've benefited from more games that push boundaries. In other cases, some mini-games aren't enjoyable as others because the winning objective makes them a tad longer than they should be. For instance, rather than having to win with 3 wins, it would have been better if the game adopted a 'Best of 2' style instead. That way, players with shorter attention spans would feel impelled to play the game longer, as opposed to losing interest early on.

    It may not be as exciting as Pop Island, but Globulos Party will likely appeal to some gamers who can appreciate the hidden depth snuck into the seemingly-simple activities. As mentioned earlier, the more you play (either against CPU's or against a friend/family member), the more you'll learn of hidden strategies that you can use to gain the upper hand. You'll soon realize that although the main goal may be to get a ball into a net (for example), you can also win by eliminating the team one-by-one as you knock them into the holes on the field. Also, by not always taking the most obvious action, or not always going full force, you can also surprise the competition and use their rash movements to your advantage. Learning the typical behaviours of your opponent will allow you to adapt your play style and to think ahead before making a move.

Globulos Party looks pretty polished, containing visuals that give the game a quirky, appealing look. The overall layout is well thought out, and the arrangement of games is easy to follow. During gameplay, the top screen displays the overhead map and the score for both teams, while the bottom screen is where the action takes place, complete with an in-game timer. Musically, the game is a tad disappointing. Other than the a mellow tune that exists on the Main Menu, gameplay is backed up with environmental sound effects and noises from the on-screen characters. Had the developers included some more tracks, the mini-games would feel more lively, so it's a shame this wasn't part of the final package.

    Although there's a substantial single-player mode, and a replayable multiplayer attraction, some may be disappointed with the lack of online play. To add such a feature would have been taxing but considering allows you to play with players from around the world, it would have been a great addition. The developers could have also added medals or achievements for the single-player affair, to give players something else work towards alongside the normal crowns. Additionally, multiple profiles would have been an excellent touch so the whole family could track their own progress and even compare rankings with one another. These improvements could have made the game even stronger, but as is, it does a great job at having that coveted "on the go" feel that many players look for on the DSi Shop.

    Globulos Party may not be for the thrill-seeking gamer, but it should appeal to those looking for a fun multiplayer game that's great for short bursts. Much like PictureBook Games: The Royal Bluff, a game like this appeals to a certain niche of gamers, those that can appreciate simple games and find a lot to like. It's not a perfect multiplayer game by any means, but it's still worth the measly $5 if you have someone to play with.

23/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - Good selection of games, hidden strategy, winning conditions on some of them could've been improved
Presentation 8/10 - Cheery and cartoony, nice layout, would've scored more had there been in-game music, Download Play
Enjoyment 4/5 - Some games are more fun than others, meant to be a multiplayer experience, best in short bursts
Extra Content 4/5 - Total of 20 activities, many single-player objectives, good multiplayer, multiple character choices, lacks profiles/achievements

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

Globulos Party
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Review by KnucklesSonic8

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