previews\ May 14, 2006 at 8:00 pm

DS Air - NDS - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

Nintendo’s E3 booth has been full of surprises this year. Their press conference brought several unveilings, but it wasn’t until I got to the show that I learned of their many other new titles – Kirby, Star Fox DS, DK King of Swing DS, and several other sequels. 

One of the all-new franchises Nintendo will be launching is DS Air, a title that hopes to be the Ace Combat of handheld flight/combat games. 

All gameplay takes place on the top screen, while all menus, flight info, and other details are presented on the bottom. Players will be amazed by how smooth the game moves. The camera work was consistent, as was the frame rate, even when faced with extreme conditions. Air Force wannabes will be able to spin, flip, and dive for a number of cool maneuvers, most (if not all) of which will be executed using the D-pad.

DS Air Nintendo DS screenshots 

The stylus won’t come into play as often as it does in Star Fox DS, and that’s just one of many differences between the two titles. DS Air is played from a first-person perspective. Environments looked pretty good, despite being fairly early into development. Enemy aircrafts were well modelled, and the speed and exhilaration was light-years beyond the current crop of DS titles. I was really impressed with how the game handled its animations. 

Wi-Fi connectivity is being planned for up to four players, forming heated dogfights for gamers on the go. You’ll also be able to hook up and compete locally with nearby DS players. Two players will even get the chance to team up and go through the game together in a special co-op mode – a first for a DS game.

 DS Air Nintendo DS screenshots

Battles will take place over land, sea, and deep within the sky. Jet fighter customization is being planned, though nothing has been revealed regarding how much influence players will have over their jets. 

The story follows an evil dictator planning a military uprising. As the dictator’s forces grow, a highly skilled pilot (the player) must rise to action and defend the world from its most dangerous threat yet. 

Not much else has was announced at E3, but expect Nintendo to give more hints about the story, the gameplay, and how deeply it’ll utilize the touch screen in the coming months. No release date has been set.


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