A space craft disguised as a pirate ship, a dog who dreams of becoming a cat and a professor who loves taking baths all blend together in Grasshopper Manufacture's latest role-playing game, Contact. We've come to expect strange new things from the developers of Killer 7, and Contact delivers in spades in the weird and wacky department with colorful characters, tons of puns, and hilarious references to the classic '80s gaming era.
You'll begin by making contact with the Professor, who recognizes that you have the ability to communicate with him via a strange device called a Nintendo DS. Soon his ship comes under attack by an intergalactic, nihilistic, terrorist organization called the CosmoNOTs. The damage to the Professor's ship results in the loss of his precious power cells which scatter throughout the world below.
It's up to you to use your Nintendo DS to guide a young boy named Terry in his quest to help the Professor repair his spacecraft - which he's disguised as a pirate ship in the meantime - by finding his power cells before the CosmoNOTs can grab them.
Missions are formulaic: talk to the townsfolk, clear the dungeon, collect the power cell, and move on. However, Contact still manages to inject its distinct style and humor into these otherwise mundane scenarios. In one area, you're required to sneak past enemy guards in a homage to the NES version of Metal Gear. Fun nods to classic games like this are abundant and will strike a chord with fans of the old-school era.
The battle system is straightforward and overly simplistic. Just move Terry near an enemy and switch him to his Battle Mode stance and he'll automatically begin whacking away at the enemy in real time. You can use your stylus to peel and stick battle decals on enemies to damage and inflict status ailments on them.
However, since the decals are limited in number and fairly weak, you won't find yourself bothering to use them very often. Because the battles are so boring you'll find yourself hating how hardcore level grinding seems to be a requirement.