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May 10, 2010

Holiday Review Guide: Part 2 - Nintendo DS Games

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Nintendo, Level- 5
Available for Nintendo DS

Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke are back in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the sequel to the highly successful adventure puzzle game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. After a close friend of the Professor is killed by apparently the curse of the mysterious Elysian Box, the dynamic duo board a train in order to solve the murder and prove the box’s curse is not behind it.

Full of grand new puzzles and tons of new locations to explore, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box not only matches the fun and challenge of the first game, it surpasses it. I will note this is a fairly challenging game and though it’s age rating 10 and up, its harder puzzles might be too difficult for anyone below a high school level. Puzzle and adventure genre fans will love this series and I highly recommend picking up this title and the first if you haven’t already.

Rating: 9 out of 10
Buy it!

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios
Available for the Nintendo DS

Fans have been waiting a long time for a Kingdom Hearts II sequel and well, they just have to keep waiting because the newest title in the series, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days is an inter-sequel, a game which takes place between the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chains of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II. This time the game focuses on Roxas and all his time spend with the organization leading up to the starting events of Kingdom Hearts II.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days’ control system is easy to use – no silly stylus controls to confuse things and the story line really gives you a chance to discover more background info on Roxas and the organization. While I would prefer to see Kingdom Hearts III out on store shelves, as long as Square Enix is shipping some sort of Kingdom Heart title, I guess I can’t complain. Overall, this isn’t the most action packed Kingdom Hearts game in the series but this game is better than no game.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Rent it!

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 5th Cell
Available for Nintendo DS

Most games are what the developers make it but with the newest title from 5th Cell and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Scribblenauts is what you make it. Imagine being able to write any word down and having that object appear – well, that’s the concept behind Scribblenauts. Each puzzle in the game gives you an endless stream of possibilities on how to solve them and all from just writing a single word.

The entertainment value alone comes from the endless fun you can have from seeing what objects you can find in the game’s built-in dictionary but the game itself needs some work before it can live up to its original design promise. The controls were a bit off and the instructions in some of the puzzles were a bit unclear making puzzle completion impossible. Overall, this game’s unique concept had huge potential but certain failed elements need to be fixed before this game can truly be successful.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Pass on it!

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story
Nintendo, AlphaDream
Available for the Nintendo DS

In Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, the Mushroom Kingdom is in trouble again and only the Mario Brothers can bring peace back to the Kingdom with the help of Bowser ... wait, what? Yep, that’s right. After a Fawful, the new bad guy in the Mushroom Kingdom infects the inhabitants with a horrible disease and causes Bowser to swallow the Mario Brothers, the Princess and their friends whole, it’s up to Bowser and the Brothers to work together to stop Fawful from taking over the entire kingdom.

Fans of the brothers will love this cute throwback to the old RPG Mario series with fabulous new graphics, hilarious voice-overs and tons of sweet Mario action. You’ll be able to take control of both the Brothers and Bowser in a neat duel screen system and explore the inner workings of one of gaming history’s most famous villains, Bowser. Trust me when I say Super Mario Bros. Wii won’t be the only Mario game selling like hotcakes this Holiday season.

Rating: 9 out of 10
Buy it!

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