DSiWare | Virtual Toys | 1 Player | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
Related Game: Spaceball: Revolution WiiWare (Review)
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9th April 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
high praise for the original game, so we were optomistic when a DSiWare release was revealed. Although it's not as content-heavy as its counterpart, the transition to the portable platform is still an excellent one.
The gameplay mechanics haven't changed at all from the WiiWare version. On the top screen, you'll be given a picture of highlighted squares, and it's your job to replicate this pattern on the bottom screen. To do this, you'll be equipped with an infinite supply of metallic energy balls that can be fired with a tap of the stylus. You only have a limited time to get the pattern right, so you better act fast! If you fail to make it in time, the camera will shift backwards one step, making your life that much harder. You'll lose the game once the screen moves back for the fourth time. But, if you manage to make it to the next round, the camera will reset as you attempt another set of puzzles.
What gives this simple concept a great deal of depth is its variety of obstacles and stage gimmicks. You'll have to get around laser beams, rotating platforms and bars, and invisible force fields, just to name a few. The further you get into the game, the more difficult these will become, and you'll need to study their movement patterns if you hope to advance. You'll also need to keep an eye out for some of the less-obvious gimmicks. In some stages, the camera will rotate the screen to mess you up while you're trying to concentrate, and in other cases, energy balls will fire automatically without your input. These elements are just a few examples of what makes Spaceball: Revolution so challenging.
Now remember, just because something may be in front of a space on the grid does not mean that it is unreachable. In almost all of the stages, you'll be able to bounce the energy balls off the walls so you can get to those hard-to-reach areas. It takes practice to know which spot you'll need to target so you can ricochet the ball to produce the result you're looking for. Doing so multiple times will award you with multiplier bonuses that can increase your point total when you complete puzzles or clear them with the ideal number of moves. One might even argue that this gameplay feature is executed a tad better here than it is on the big screen. Either way, you'll need to maneuver the game space with expertise if you hope to clear some of the later stages, so be sure to use the early stages to build up your confidence!
Each level has a total of 5 Rounds, with 10 puzzles each. At the end of each level, your points will be tallied, and you'll also be awarded bonuses for playing quickly and/or accurately. You'll then get a chance to increase your point totals even further by means of a quick bonus stage in outer space. Floating targets will float by from either side of the screen, and it's your job to try to shoot as many as you can. Interestingly, it seems like this aspect has been improved slightly over the WiiWare release, since players can now fire as many shots as they would like without having to wait for balls in the distance to disappear. After a while, though, this little sub-game may grow thin because of how repetitive it is, always taking place in the same environment with the same enemy patterns.
Although presentation may not be as amazing and rich as it was in the WiiWare version, the transition to the portable platform has still resulted in some great-looking visuals. Sure, some of the obstacles may look more rough, such as the moving squares or the swinging pendulums, but this is to be expected. Even still, the stages haven't lost their strong look. The developers have still retained the same music and it still sounds excellent even in this new form. The sci-fi feel of the music goes hand-in-hand with the out-of-this-world visuals, as it did in the original.
The major differences between the two versions ultimately comes down to content. In the DSiWare version, the multiplayer function, downloadable content, and the online leaderboards have all been removed. The modes players have to choose from are Challenge, Free Play, and Ranking mode. You can also access the Help menu to pull up the manual, or select the Instructions mode, which will teach you how to play the game. Challenge Mode is still the same as it was before, and comes equipped with multiple difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Advanced, and of course, the unlockable Master mode. You have the ability to play individual stages if you like under Free Play mode. Also, rankings are now strictly for local purposes, but thankfully, you can compare your scores with others who create their own profile. Ultimately, you'll need to decide which version suits your style more and which one will give you more bang for your buck.
For only $5, Spaceball: Revolution is an excellent arcade-puzzle hybrid. For those that don't have a Wii, this is an excellent game to satisfy your arcade gaming needs. If you do have a Wii, for only $3 more, you can get the home console version which features multiplayer, DLC, Wi-Fi leaderboards, and impressive graphics. You'll need to evaluate for yourself if you prefer the extras, or the portability that comes with this release. Although it lacks some of the additional selling points of the WiiWare version, this is still a great purchase that I have no trouble recommending.
25/30 - Very Good
Gameplay 9/10 - Easy to learn, bouncing balls off walls is a great feature, great concept, variety gradually introduced
Presentation 9/10 - Visuals have made a good transition from the WiiWare version, sci-fi feel, some obstacles look a little rough
Enjoyment 4/5 - Later stages are really challenging, can be very addicting depending on who's playing, portable fun for quick sessions
Extra Content 3/5 - Can go through Challenge Mode on multiple difficulties, unlockable Master mode, local high-scores, good value for only $5
Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)
Review by KnucklesSonic8 | How we rate games