Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ready for Some Game Crack? Digidrive for the GBA/NDS Review

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I spent 2 days in Sitiawan, cleaning up the holiday home but I wasn't lacking in entertainment. In fact, I spent most of my free time eating, sleeping, driving around my old hometown, or playing with either one of the two handheld consoles that I brought with me.

The first one, the Game Boy, had Bura Bura Donkey loaded up and the second console, my trusty old DS had the R4 and Digidrive. I've already gave a review of Bura Bura Donkey, so lets talk about Digidrive.

If you were to ask me how to describe Digidrive right after my first few attempts of playing it, I would be in a total loss for words. Despite the relative ease of getting into grips with the gameplay, I still find it hard to describe the game in words.

Part of the bit Generations series of games, Digidrive can be best described as a multi-faceted puzzle game, which is part Tetris and part racing game, by which if you are caught up, it's game over. The game is part Tetris stems from the fact that you'll spend most of your time shuffling and arranging different tiles (of 3 different designs) along a horizontal and vertical axis (like a cross). These tiles come in along the axis from the edge of the screen.

Arranging 5 tiles of the same design at one of 4 points along the cross will cause some sort of gauge to appear, and pilling in the same tiles (or pegs) into that particular point will cause the gauge to increase, and even change shape. Every now and then, a special tile will appear. I call it the "ambulance" tile, due to the sound effect of sirens being played whenever it appears. Driving this tile into a point in the cross will cause the gauge (if there's one at that point) to be used up.

This is were the "racing" or "driving" part of the game comes into play. The type of gauge expended (used up) will determine how far the puck (on the right hand side of the screen) will move along a straightway. The distance travelled in meters is measure and it forms your score. Now we come to the main objective of the game, which is to use drive the puck away from some sort of barrier that is constantly approaching the puck. Once the barrier hits the puck, it's game over.

So it's pretty simple: arrange the same tiles, build up the gauges, use the ambulance tile to utilise the gauges to provide fuel for the puck to move away from the barrier.

One interesting aspect of gameplay is when all four points of the cross have gauges. This will trigger a mini game to be played, whereby you'll have to guide incoming pegs into the respective points where the same type of pegs are residing. This will quickly fill up the gauges (and cause them to change shape). One mistake will end the mini game and the last gauge will be utilised to move the puck.

If it does sound a little confusing, have a look a the gameplay videos. The first one is a little sped up, since after all it's an expert level attempt at some crazy high score:

The second video is a more, normal look at how Digidrive is played, although I would probably play it a little differently:

It does look a little baffling, but once you have tried the game, you'll find it hard to put down. I bought this game for a bargain bin price of USD 9.90 from Play-Asia, with free international shipping. For purchase details, click here. And for the rest of the bit Generations titles, click here.