Thursday, June 30, 2011

Twenty One - Big Bang Mini

Just finished Big Bang Mini on the DS. Stunner of a little game.

Big Bang Mini is an old-school shmup with new-school sensibilities. No storyline here. You're a colorful dot that launches fireworks at bright, flashing nonsequitur pictures dropping all manner of items on you. The stages each have their own themes and wrinkles to the gameplay, but the most recurring element is that fireworks that miss their target will hit the top or sides of the stage, sunburst into more bullets, and come right back at you. Eesh.

The real deal-sealer is the touchscreen controls. You drag around your little dot with the stylus, and launch fireworks, create shields, and capture enemies that cross over to the touchscreen with your stylus. It doesn't sound that complicated, but it gets tricky fast. As the game progresses, you get to use a charged-up fireball, a time-stopping technique, a grab-the-bubbles-for-oxygen lifesaver, and other gameplay tricks to add to the zone's flavor. The only time I ever felt like I was subverting the theme of a particular area was when I busted through the Rio de Janeiro stage by spamming the overpowered fireball that the African Safari stage gave me instead of timing my attacks to the beat of the music for a power-up.

Also worth note: Big Bang Mini matches its frantic and hypnotic action with a high ridiculousness factor. You have turtle chefs dropping croissants on you in Paris, aliens and traffic lights filling the screen in New York City, and hippie graffiti drummers attacking you with musical notes in Rio. My personal favorite was the jazzy Paris stage, whose enemies chiefly consisted of alleycats, pigeons, owls, and other city wildlife with nonsense like the turtle chefs mixed in. That's just a sample. The entire game has a quirkiness-bordering-on-weirdness that combines with inspired art and sound to keep you surprised at every new stage.

But enough talk. Go and youtube this shit. Or buy it. Or pirate it and then buy it. Because this game is great, Arkedo (who? I know, right!) is not EA or Activision, and they deserve all the love they can get. I wish more DS games were this good, I really do.

Games Beaten: 2011 Edition

1. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
2. Primal Rage
3. Torchlight Hat Trick
4. Ghost Trick
5. Flower
6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
7. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
8. Sly 2: Band of Thieves
9. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
10. Tales of Eternia
11. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
12. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
13. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
14. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
15. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
16. Dragon Age: Origins
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
18. inFamous Evil Finish
20. inFamous 2 Good Finish
21. Big Bang Mini


Next up, still don't know. I have ongoing playthroughs of Jade Empire, Bioshock, Half-Life, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, X-Men Legends 2, Breath of Fire 3, and Legend of Heroes: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch. Could be those, could be damn near anything else.

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