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19 New from
As with some of the other reviews on this site, I must first point out that Jam Sessions is not a game, it is designed as a portable musician's tool. In that respect, most DS owners will NOT enjoy it.
Jam Sessions allows you to strum your DS like an acoustic guitar, using directions on the D-pad to change chords. You have the ability to program the 16 chords on the palette (8 directions, plus 8 more while holding down the L button), allowing you to play virtually any songs that just require simple chord strumming.
While Jam Sessions allows a lot of chord options, there are many chord which could (or should) have been included to make this package feel more complete. The ability to create your own chords by choosing notes is something which I was very suprised to find not included.
The pre-programmed songs on this game, to be honest, aren't that good. The lyrics are not written in time and the MIDI playback is only available on some of the songs. However, this is not really a feature of the "game" that you should be taking into consideration when buying it.
The effects you can add to your virtual guitar really don't sound particularly pleasant, however the natural acoustic tone is very nice.
You are also able to record 5 songs, which is handy if you come up with something good but don't have any other recording options immediately available to you. However, the limited recording space does mean that recording can only really be used as a temporary thing, so that your creations aren't lost before you can transfer them to something else.
This product really shines when you use it to accompany other peoples (or your own) singing, or for creating chord structures on-the-go, but doesn't do a lot else. Jam Sessions does seem quite rushed and not entirely thought-out like a product of this kind should have been. As a result, this is probably something you will specifically want, rather than something that may appeal to you.
Bomberman Land Touch!
3 New from
Bomberman Land: Touch! is a great return to form after a string of embarrassing Bomberman games.
The game is essentially split into two halves; the minigames/main story and the battle mode.
The main story takes place on a theme park island, where you are required to play the many attractions there in order earn the title of Pirate King. OK, so the story isn't very enticing, but it's a Bomberman game, not a major motion-picture.
The minigames make full use of the DS touchscreen and microphone, and all the games are done very well. Some minigames can be very tough, but after you have failed a game a few times it gives you the option of trading one token (which you will collect throughout the game) to lower the win requirements. Further, I noticed that the more you fail a game the easier it seems to become on repeated attempts. One example is on a game where you have to clean various dirt-marks off a giant trophy. Each time I failed, the dirt marks seemed to group closer together, which made it easier to complete in the required timeframe. This is a nice touch which stops you throwing your DS out of the window, regardless of your ability.
The bosses are battled through a game in which you must throw bombs with the stylus from your side of the screen to the opponents. The bombs will turn from black to green to red and then explode after a period of time, and once there are a multitude of bombs onscreen, the gameplay becomes very frantic.
The battle mode allows up to 8 human or CPU players to battle it out across both screen of the DS in the traditional Bomberman format. There are a tonne of options available, which make the game both great fun and long-lasting. The only problem with this mode is that the AI can be a little rigid, however only one cart is required in order for up to 8 people to play, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding other people with their own DS to play against, as this is one of the best multiplayer experiences for the DS. Add to this the online capabilities, and you've got a great package.
This game is genuinely worth the money for either of the two halves alone, so combined this game is a real gem. If you've enjoyed any Bomberman game in the past, want a brilliant multiplayer game, or are after a new minigame collection, this is a definite consideration.
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
4 New from
Final Fantasy: Chocobo Tales is a very original twist on the RPG formula. Instead of the usual battling and levelling up style of gameplay, you will take part in a variety of minigames utilising the DS touchscreen. In between these there is some simple puzzle-solving and the boss fights are played out in a trading card game-style duel.
The minigames themselves are all done very well, and there's enough variety from one minigame to the next to prevent them from becoming tiresome. Further, there are also various optional microgames dotted around which you can play to earn cards which are used in boss fights.
The card system is great, with 122 different cards available and the ability to completely customise your own 15-card decks, plus the option to go online and battle other people.
The game will probably last you 7-10 hours if you just aim to play the main storyline, although unlocking all the cards will take you much longer should you wish to.
Overall, the game is very fun, never too difficult and I would definitely recommend it.
Final Fantasy III (3)
2 New from
Most people buying this game will already be aware of the Final Fantasy series and the main aspects of an RPG. This follows the similar role-playing gameplay of battling, exploring new towns/dungeons, and making your characters stronger.
These are all done very well and, while there won't be much new to any diehard RPG-fan, the game is enjoyable throughout its 30+ hour lifetime.
The new job system is fantastic, you begin with around 6 jobs and unlock many more as you progress through the game. Changing jobs gives a slight penalty, which helps prevent job-changing every battle, however when assigning a character a new job there is not so much of a penalty that you are discouraged from switching every so often.
The storyline is decent, following a typical RPG pattern but never getting dull and repetitive. The battling is textbook turn-based RPG, with some very interesting boss battles. Some of the bosses can be very difficult, but can always be overcome with an extra hour or two of training.
The only reason I did not give this game five stars is because once you've gone through it the first time, there is little replay value. I can't see myself playing the game through again for a long time until the game will feel "new" again. However, the game's longevity more than makes up for it's lack of replay value.
If you want a game that is going to last you a long time and are a fan of RPGs or previous Final Fantasy games, this game is superb. An excellent RPG that is well worth buying.