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Previews

Big Bang Mini - NDS - Preview 2

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Posted by: jkdmedia

There was a line in the movie 21 that said the best thing about being in Vegas is that you can be anyone you want. Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know – but I can tell you that in video games, you can be anything you want. In the case of Big Bang Mini, the new 2D space shooter from Arkedo and SouthPeak Games, you are not much more than a square, triangle or some other simplistic shape. Thrown into a world of flash and fireworks, you must guide this thing – referred to as a ship but the visual could be anything – through an endless array of deadly attacks.

Games like this are usually played from a side-scrolling perspective, but that is not true for Big Bang Mini. It is not a top-down shooter either. Instead, this game uses a fixed location view that keeps you in the same area of each stage. So rather than flying toward a growing threat with the goal of taking it down, you’ll stay within the confines of space as displayed on the bottom screen. The top screen belongs to the enemies (or lack thereof in the early stages, where you’ll battle a series of harmless balloons).

With the stylus in hand, touch and hold your ship and drag it around a few times. That pretty much completes your flight lesson. Since your ship cannot actually fight, you must retaliate – and destroy whatever’s floating around the top screen – by launching an upward assault. But don’t let your mind wander to the place of missiles and nuclear warfare; the weapons of choice in this game are fireworks.

Fireworks are launched by drawing slashes at any part of the screen except where your ship is located. This is part of the game’s challenge; you cannot attack without letting go of your ship, which makes it very vulnerable. The slashes must be upward and may be diagonal but not horizontal. After each slash, a small firework will launch into the air, leaving a light colorful trail behind its path. If it strikes an enemy, your goal will be accomplished – either the enemy will be damaged or completely destroyed, the latter of which causes him to release a star.

Stars are the ultra-necessary items that must be collected in order to pass each level. To snatch one, grab your ship and drag it over to each star as they fall. Once collected, every star goes right into your star meter; when that meter is full, the level is complete. This is an interesting way of calculating level completion, since it means players could theoretically defeat the same crop of enemies multiple times but fail because they didn’t collect enough stars. Enemies will reappear until the star meter is full.

Should you fail to hit an enemy at any time, watch out: these are fireworks you’re launching, not traditional video game weaponry. Upon impacting the screen, fireworks explode, sending dozens of balls, clusters, particles and other fireworks byproducts all over the bottom screen. Hit one – just one of those elements – and it’s game over. Continues are infinite, but imagine the difficulty of shooters like Ikaruga and you’ll begin to understand how big of a challenge Big Bang Mini provides.

Nine different locations are included with this shooter package, including Hong Kong, Aurora, Kamakura, Luxor, Savannah, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Abyss. Each location contains 10 stages, including one boss battle, offering 90 different ways to challenge our ability to evade the growing onslaught.

Each location (or level theme) has been given a different visual style, as well as different gameplay rules and/or adjustments to make your life a tad easier. The enemies will take care of the making it harder part, as sharks and superhero-looking characters throw giant laser beams and laser circles at your ship. The location also affects how your fireworks look and react, making it difficult to predict each explosion pattern. Without knowing where or how the fireworks’ elements will be shot, avoiding them becomes much more difficult.

Blasting into stores in just a couple weeks, Big Bang Mini could be the shooter that provides the most bang for your ever-shrinking buck (a mini dollar, if you will) this winter. Stay with GameZone for more on this game leading up to its release and beyond.

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