Sometimes the best gifts are re-discovering what we already have. So I thought in the spirit of the season I’d try and bring some of that joy your way.
If you are like me, you bought a DSi when it first came out, had a poke around the new menus and options, maybe even tried your hand at Flipnote Studio, but then went back to your proper cartridge based DS games.
Compared to XBLA or even Wii-ware games, DSi-ware was rather lack luster to begin with. Like online gaming in general, it seemed as if Nintendo weren’t interested in really capturing that market. In light of the upcoming 3DS you’d be forgiven for thinking the DSi was something of a stop gap.
However, when I went to browse the DSi-ware six months later I discovered a vast catalogue of games. The intervening months had seen the DSi-ware store grow into something of a monster. In fact, now the problem was finding the wheat from the chaff.
So far there have been three games that have really stood out.
Starship Defense DSi-ware: Starship Defense is soccer management for the masses. The DSi-ware game’s stripped down visuals and clockwork strategy scratch the same itch as many a soccer sim. As I later discovered these games to be called, tower defense doesn’t get much better than this.
In terms of other tower defense games, Starship Defense offers the usual fare of upgrade-able offensive and defensive weapons, along with ever more determined waves of enemy ships. This was simple enough for my boys to play without too much assistance for me.
The simple turn based nature of the preparation phase, combined with the clear visuals meant they could always tell what was going on. Although they’ve not yet been introduced to Star Wars yet, the whole game has that sort of feel. And on this count the music excels by adopting the orchestral themes that worked so well with the movies. Ship design also makes more than a cursory nod towards the battle cruisers and tie fighters.
Pop Island DSi-ware: Is a fully fledged capture the flag game squeezed into a miniature 3D world. Best of all though is that with one copy eight can play together with either DS’s or DSi’s.
It’s capture the flag in a fast and furious 3D world. Each team has eight players and each unit you choose to control has its own characteristics.
Like the games of the 16-bit era, Pop Island creates hilariously frantic gameplay that also manages to preserve the need for real tactics.
Pulse Pinball DSi-ware: Manages to hold its own amongst bigger pinball titles on other systems. I was continually tempted to indulge in just one more game, to try and beat my high score. The realistic physics and Greek mythology-themed quests help to keep things interesting.
Pinball Pulse includes only one board, but it’s been well laid out and presented, with a range of modes and quests for building up bonus points. It offers realistic physics and flippers that feel right. It even provides a nudging feature via the touch screen. It’s a focused approach that says a lot about how well they understand the pastime.
I hope that these three games work as well for your family as they do for ours, and that they help you to discover other DSi-ware titles. With Nintendo’s promise of being able to transfer these to the 3DS when it’s released next year, there’s never been a better excuse to give them a go.