Disney, one of the largest media corporations in the world has taken Q Entertainment’s puzzle game Meteos and repainted it as their own, highlighting their trademark franchise characters. Meteos: Disney Magic is the perfect blend for Disney fans and puzzle gamers. Be on the lookout for Lions, Pirates and Mermaids as we review Meteos: Disney Magic.
Meteos: Disney Magic takes Q Entertainment’s 2005 puzzle game Meteos and replaces their alien themed characters with a list of Disney characters, including the mouse himself. I’m sure every reader knows Disney, but the factor in this project might be the other side, Meteos. Meteos is one game that actually passed by me a few years back, and even though I’ve heard the name, I never had a chance to sit down with the game. Meteos managed to be a hit with gamers and critics averaging a stellar ratio of 89% on the popular ranking site Gamerankings.com. Meteos even snagged a few 100% ranks from a few sites including G4 TV. It’s safe to say the gameplay shouldn’t be any sort of problem in this pairing with Disney.
Meteos is a fast paced block puzzle game that takes it name rightfully so from the word “Meteor”. In Meteos you will need good reflexes and a fast eye. The action even though Disney based is not simple kid stuff. Being a newbie to Meteos I was crushed when I tried to start my experience off in the normal mode. I had to beat down my ego and go with the easy level first, until I figured out what the heck is going on in Meteos. In basics you have to stack blocks and blast them off the screen. This is done by moving them in their rows horizontally or vertical and matching up three or more similar block designs. The blocks then turn blast upwards and hopefully fly right off your screen. Clear a certain amount of blocks and you’ve passed a level. It’s a little confusing at first, so if you’re new to Meteos give it a chance and you will discover a challenging and brilliantly developed puzzle game.
The Disney portion of Meteos comes in the form of a Disney driven plot line along with a cosmetic overhaul into everything Disney. For Disney fans this will make Meteos more appealing and friendly then the odd alien theme from the normal edition. Not only will Disney fans choose this over the original, but it might bring a new audience to the game that wouldn’t have touched it otherwise. Which ever way you see it, it’s good for Q Entertainment, Nintendo and Disney.
For all you Disney fans, I will run down the themes and characters used in Meteos: Disney Magic, you might just be surprised who is and isn’t on the list. First off a few Disney classics have been transferred over to the Meteos world, this being the 1950’s classic Cinderella, and the lovable golden brown bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. Not, as old, but now classics The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, The Little Mermaid and computer animated Toy Story has also been included. The two that are left out of the eight themes in Meteos come from left field and might not be readily associated with Disney. These two entries are Tim Burtons stop animation movie, The Nightmare before Christmas and the Academy Award winning action movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. Both are intellectual properties of the Walt Disney Corporation that have been very successful outside of the normal Disney realm. I feel as if these eight themes are a good pick for Meteos and they offer something for everyone who has ever loved a Disney film.
One thing that has changed with the Disney version of Meteos is how you hold the Nintendo DS. Like the recent adventure game Hotel Dusk, and Brain Age you will hold the Nintendo DS like a book with the fold of the DS horizontal. This helps lengthen the gaming screen which is the most practical perspective for a block-styled puzzle game. The other screen shows an interactive story with the Disney characters. The touch screen is absolutely crucial to Meteos because this is how you play the game. Pulling around the blocks is done by dragging them around with the stylus. This is definitely one game in which you’re not going to be able to get away with using your fingertips. Meteos takes precision, critical thinking, and quick reflexes all penned down on the touch screen.
The story aspect of Disney Magic is made up a few animations and really doesn’t hold much merit as an involving plot line. The story mode of Disney Magic feels like a part that was tacked on to make Meteos feel like more than a puzzle game which doesn’t work, and a little pointless. Another disappointment in Disney Magic is the insane level of difficulty. For a theme that is marketed towards kids, Disney Magic is going to make a lot of parent wish they never picked up the game. I can see a lot of children throwing tantrums and bashing DSs because of the hard difficulty. Easy is admittedly easy, but normal and hard is beyond frustrating. There is almost slack for mistakes and you have to be ready to go at a fast pace, slacking calls for the ‘game over’ image to appear on the screen. These two areas are Meteos: Disney Magic the flawed aspect of the game, but besides that, this Disneyfied version of Meteos is solid.
Meteos also offers up a friendly multiplayer mode which up to three players can share over one DS. The multiplayer mode brings in a little more fun because you send blocks over to your friends screen making them deal with some unusable blocks. This is the most fun to have out of Meteos, although talking a bunch of guys into playing a Disney themed game might be harder then the Meteos difficulty levels.
The idea of Meteos wrapped in a Disney theme could have come off as a washed up experiment to try and cash in on the popular Disney characters, but that is far from the truth. Even with the cute and loveable Disney themes incorporated into Meteos there is no slack given on the challenge of the game, or the gameplay. If anything Meteos: Disney Magic is an improvement on the original game. It’s easy to recommend Disney Magic for puzzle gaming fans, although I have to attach a warning on the end of this review. Meteos: Disney Magic is a tough game that might be too difficult for younglings who are attracted to the cute images of their Disney heroes. If you’re picking this up as a gift, make sure the person that will be receiving the game has some patience and a willingness to learn. Besides, the gentle warning, Meteos: Disney Magic stands tall next to the esteemed original.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 5, Innovation: 6.5, Mojo: 8. Final: 7 / 10