Square Enix. Taito
Available for the Nintendo DS
Exit DS isn’t exactly a new game to the market as gamers will remember its premiere on the Sony PSP and then its appearance on the Xbox Live Arcade. Fans of the game won’t find anything new in its latest incarnation but a control system created to fit the NDS stylus and even that you may find yourself turning off to work with the easier D pad system.
For players unfamiliar with Exit on any system, you play as Mr. ESC, a Dick Tracy a-look-a-like that spends his days professionally saving civilians from disaster. Using Mr. ESC, you must work your way through 100 levels saving innocent people from burning buildings, snow storms, etc, all by solving the puzzles that impede your way. Puzzle must be solved by using items, moving objects and using saved civilians’ help.
The simple cartoon graphics make use of basic colours and shadows for a unique look not often seen in many videogames. As I said before, the main character looks like he was pulled from the logo for the Dick Tracy movie as does the world around him. The puzzles will keep you on your toes with multiple items and different civilian uses always popping up plus the game always provides some head scratching moments.
The stylus controls aren’t exact, so I found switching to the D pad controls a little easier. Gamers who have played this Exit already on the PSP or XBLA won’t find any new levels or add-ons on the Nintendo DS, so don’t worry about picking up this version. If you haven’t checked out Exit before, this is a great place to start as any, especially when the asking price is just $20.
Rating 8 out of 10
Empire Interactive, Atari
Available for the Nintendo DS
If you never played the original Pipe Mania, the rules are simple: connect pieces of pipe to get the sewage to the drain. It’s a simple concept, but relatively fun. Pipe pieces are laid out Tetris-style on the top screen, available only one at a time for you to place. You have a short time limit to start placing the pieces out on the grid. You are given, of course, a start point and end drain. You have to take the given piece and place it, somewhere on course you want to make. The strategy early on is essentially planning ahead with your drain pipes.
Your strategy must change as you acquire new moves that are only available in certain areas later on in the game though. For instance, some boards allows you to draw your own piece and place it, while others want you to lay down pipes while hunting for a treasure chest on the board. These new elements tend to make the game much harder in long run.
There is a story mode that actually has cartoon cut scenes that are voiced by a narrator that sounds eerily close to Michael Caine from Batman fame. While the story and goofy characters are cute and give you a good intro to the game play, the arcade and classic modes are perfect for extending the replay value of the game with extra levels. As you play through the story mode, you can unlock bonus modes, art, and other goodies in the Treasure Room.
Pipemania, though not the next Game of the Year title, has been a great time waster since it came out in 1989 on the original Amiga. For casual game fans looking for something to challenge their quick thinking mind, I suggest giving Pipemania a go for only $20. The extras in the game make it worthwhile.
Rating 7 out of 10