previews\ May 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Custom Robo Arena - NDS - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

I’ve yet to get my hands on the GameCube version of Custom Robo, so color me surprised when I sat down to check out this fast-paced mech action game for the DS. Titled Custom Robo Arena, the game lets you choose from several different mobile suits (I’m guessing they’re called “Robos” in this game). Customize them to your liking, changing the physical appearance as well as the functionality of the mech. Then it’s off to the battlefield for wireless multiplayer mayhem.

Two players faced off on a small, square-shaped platform. There was more than one platform to choose from, and each seemed to be of a different size and offer a different theme (outdoors, fire/lava, industrial, etc.). Once the match started the two robots charged at each other with immense force. They could jump, hover, hack and slash, and shoot from afar. The robots came equipped with multiple weapon options, including bombs and fire pods.

Custom Robo™ Arena screenshots

Custom Robo isn’t shy on control features, using more than just one button or simply the touch screen. In fact, the touch screen takes a backseat in this title (for now, at least). Aside from a feature called “Soul Boost,” which gives you an increase in strength and speed, the touch screen was not used. Again, I say for now. Based on the other first-party games I’ve seen, I’m willing to bet that Nintendo’s got more touchable features up their sleeves. Because right now the touch screen technically functions as one big, colorful button. I expect to see Nintendo go further than that.

All the action takes place from a side view. You can move in and out of the environments, creating a 3D experience, but the camera perspective never changes. The view does, hovering up and down to follow the movement of the mechs. But I did not witness a perspective change.

Custom Robo™ Arena screenshots

Thus far the polygon Robo models are looking sharp. Animation is consistently and surprisingly reliable, considering that this is only a demo and ran solely in multiplayer mode (for two players). The final version may have a single-player campaign, but for the most part this game will be about the multiplayer experience. It’s like Nintendo’s answer to Virtual On – 10 years later.

Perhaps this will inspire Sega to counter with a great DS edition of their classic mech action game?


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