Miniature Reviews (20th November 09)

For this week's quick reviews, we've taken a look at just a couple of the WiiWare highlights from the past year: Bit.Trip BEAT and NyxQuest, both of which are great titles, and now also part of the new, free, WiiWare Demo service. Read on for our full impressions...

Bit.Trip BEAT
WiiWare | Rhythm Action | Gaijin Games / Aksys | 1-4 Player co-op | Out Now - 600 Nintendo Points (Demo available)

With the Bit.Trip series, the developers decided to take the "retro theme" idea, and put a unqiue spin on it by adding more modern aspects to it, something that works really well in action. The aim of the game is to move your paddle up and down to defend the left hand side of the screen from small blocks (or "beats") which are constantly flying towards you (slightly akin to the basic gameplay of Pong), something simple enough at first, but with extra depth from the very beginning.

    To enhance play, you must control your paddle by twisting your Wii remote towards and away from yourself, a method which may sound daunting and unnecessary at first, but manages to work wonderfully, allowing for more control over speed and accuracy. Up to four player co-op play is also available, and even though the bat size is compromised due to the extra help, it provides some great fun with friends. Adding to the experience even further, the beats that fly towards you all make a "bleep" sound when they come into contact with your paddle, forming a fantastically catchy tune as you progress through each of the three levels. Some of them also move in imaginative ways just to fool you, but whilst this may be a tad confusing from time to time, it also manages to add much more personality and difficulty to the gameplay.

    All in all, BEAT is a great start to the new Bit.Trip series, with great gameplay to accompany the fantastic aesthetic style, although sometimes the background imagery (which vaguely displays a story if you pay close attention) can distract you. With the levels clocking up around fifteen to twenty minutes each time, it can also be a pain when you constantly fail at a difficult section and have to start over again, but for hardcore gamers, it's well worth a download at just 600 points. Billy White

Gameplay 8/10 - Presentation 9/10 - Enjoyment 4/5 - Other 3/5

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits
WiiWare | Platform / Adventure | Over the Top Games | 1-2 Player co-op | Out Now - 1000 Nintendo Points (Demo available)

When the WiiWare service first launched, it was already blessed with the fantastic LostWinds, a game which featured platforming and puzzling elements combined with the ability to control wind with the pointer of your remote, providing a fantastic, if short, experience. With NyxQuest, the developers have taken on a similar concept, allowing you to control and create paths of wind, move balls of fire and interact with the environment itself all with the Wii remote's pointer. These all combine to make some of the best puzzle/platform moments in gaming, but sadly the developers haven't quite managed to beat LostWinds at it's own game just yet.

    Sadly, the game lacks from several glitches in the gameplay, sometimes causing premature and unfortunate deaths, and other times leaving you with no way of moving. These can be overlooked, but do provide for some very annoying scenarios at times. In addition to this, the graphics also feel a bit lacking as well. Sure, their cel-shaded style fits really well with the Ancient Greek theme, but sadly some of the set pieces can begin to look really samey as you progress, and some background set-pieces can sometimes be easily confused with items in the foreground. This isn't to say that the game loses out to LostWinds in every possible way, though, since fans looking for more excitement or action in this than that of LostWinds will not be left disappointed, with plenty of quick thinking often required.

    The game also features co-op functionality, allowing an extra player to participate in trickier moments, something that proves to be a great advantage during certain sections. Overall, if you're looking for a new platformer on WiiWare, this will not leave you disappointed, although the style won't be for everyone.
 Billy White

Gameplay 9/10 - Presentation 8/10 - Enjoyment 4/5 - Other 4/5