Point Blank DS
Because shooting the wool off of sheep makes my day.
When Point Blank surfaced in arcades, it became the likes of a colossal hit. And, really, why not? Nothing beats taking part in skill-related shooting games to make you feel like you have what it takes to be an expert marksman, without having to resort to scenarios where you shoot people or, God forbid, speakables of the undead. The series has since moved on to the PlayStation for even more success, and now it's on...the Nintendo DS.
Yes, the Nintendo DS now has a version of the shooting series Point Blank to call its own, and it's bizarre to find it there, as one wouldn't imagine using a touch screen as their basic weapon instead of some kind of light gun. But do you want to know something even MORE bizarre? The damn thing actually works, and this is one of the better Nintendo DS games you can buy out there.
The game features a number of scenarios to go through, including Arcade, where you take on different difficulty levels and random events to get the hang of things, as well as a Brain Massage mode with more challenging games to test your dexterity and skills. There's also Multiplayer and Freeplay, a mode that lets you practice any mini-game at any time, with a number of difficulties available.
Perhaps one of the biggest things working in Point Blank DS' favor is the fact that the mini-games are so diverse. One stage, you're shooting tin cans into a dude's wheelbarrow as he scampers by, and the next, you're playing the classic clay target shooting game that originated in arcades so long ago, with a limited supply of ammunition at hand. There's also sheep shooting, treasure chest collecting, bombs to avoid, and so much more. The fact that over 100+ mini-games inhabit this game make it one for the twitch set, kinda in the same league as Wario Ware.
The presentation is nothing fantastic, but suits the Nintendo DS just fine. The graphics are colorful and lively, and carry with it the fun Japanese flavor of the arcade and PlayStation games without missing a beat. The music is delightfully wacky and upbeat, and keeps you shooting with the speakers on full blast with very little problems. The touch screen interaction is precise, depending on your settings, and the mini-games actually grow quite challenging as you move ahead, especially if you dare to conquer Brain Massage mode. Um, good luck.
The multiplayer doesn't quite work as well as I would expect, but it's still nice to have. I guess with that by me, the only flaw that I can think of with this game is that, once it's mastered, the only thing you can do is go back and try to get better times on them. There's a ton of games to choose from here and it'll take some time, but eventually you'll be itching for a sequel.
One other thing, too. Namco seems to have a screwed-up distribution cycle with this game, so it might be a bit hard to find. And that's too bad, because Point Blank DS is one of the better third-party offerings out there, loaded with variety and insanity going hand in hand. I certainly hope we get a sequel somewhere down the road- and hopefully it's much easier to find.
What's Hot: A variety of games; excellent controls; Brain Massage is NUTS.
What's Not: Very hard to find thanks to poor distribution; once it's done, it's done.