Dragon Quest Swords and Tetris DS: My Impressions

As promised, here's a post about my impressions of my 2 new games. First up is Dragon Quest Swords for the Wii. It has the style, visuals, and character of a Dragon Quest game, but the gameplay is very different. I don't know much about the plot, since my Japanese is still pretty crap-tastic, but it looks like you play the role of a typical young hero, trying to save the kingdom with the help of a few like-minded friends. So far, the general pattern of gameplay is walk around the town, talk to everyone, leave town and fight monsters, fight a boss, return to town, and repeat. Granted, I've only beaten the first two areas and bosses. But from the little info I've found online, it looks like this pretty much repeats for the rest of the game. Movement generally resembles an on-rails shooter, with RPG sword-swinging instead of constant shooting. So far, the battles are not challenging at all. You're stopped by a group of enemies at several points, and must figure out which of the few attacks work best on them. For example, Babbles can only be sliced vertically, some enemies attacks must be blocked before they're vulnerable, and some enemies fire projectiles that can actually be hit back at them. While the enemies do sometimes damage my character, I think this is more the result of my inexperience with the mechanics and that I'm still getting used to the enemies patterns. Nonetheless, it's an entertaining game so far, and well worth the cheap price I paid for it.

Second, Tetris DS is a lot of fun, even though I've never been a big fan of it. I see now why so many people have been voting for the L-Block over on the character battle at Gamefaqs. The Standard mode is as fun as ever, with a few new additions. Now you can see an outline of the falling block on the bottom row, so you know exactly where it will land. A related new feature is the ability to press Up and have the block instantly lock into place on the bottom. No more waiting or holding Down for a while. You can also spin and slide a block indefinitely once it's on the bottom row, allowing you to catch your breath and plan out your next move. I was only able to get to level 15, but as I get more used to these new mechanics, I think I can do much better than that. There are also several great new modes added to this classic game. So far, I really like the Metroid-themed Catch mode, in which you control an entire group of blocks, and can rotate the whole bunch of 'em. I also like the Touch puzzles, where you have to slide blocks around to complete a set of directions, as well as a whole Puzzle mode where you must clear the Tetris blocks with only 3 other blocks. But perhaps best of all, even beyond these new modes, is the numerous Nintendo-themed backgrounds. It seems like they've added cameos from many of their best games, including several Mario games, Metroid, Zelda, and even Yoshi's Cookie. It's a great game, and I'm glad I finally picked it up.

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