It’s that time again, kids. Ever since Space Invaders invaded our land, videogames have had us defending this lovely planet of ours from all manner of intergalactic mischief-makers. Meteos Wars continues the theme of planetary assault, with blocks plummeting towards your fragile world. If too many enter your gravitational field, it’s game over. As you’d expect, you’ve got to match three or more identical blocks either vertically or horizontally to clear your screen and avoid a block overload. So, the question is, what’s new?
While the usual Match-3 puzzlers disintegrate matched rows, Meteos Wars launches them skywards, pushing everything above them the same way. With enough momentum, your stack of rocket-fuelled blocks will clear the top of the screen, never to be seen again. It’s a fresh take on a tired theme. Block-fetishists will delight in the spectacle of huge slabs of multi-colored squares launching into the stratosphere, accompanied by triumphant musical jingles of successfully chained combos. Once you’re ‘in the zone’ the screen explodes into an orgy of rocket-propelled blocks. It’s satisfying stuff.
And there’s a pleasing depth here too. Each planet’s specific gravity will affect how easily blocks can be moved. You may find yourself forced to give a launched stack of blocks an extra boost to stop them falling back down. Experimentation with each planet will eventually reveal the most effective way to rid yourself of the Meteos threat. There are plenty of modes to mess around with too, including a Mission Mode where you battle in increasingly hostile conditions. Our advice? Get a mate involved and revel in some ultra-competitive block-based carnage.
Those of you used to the speedy stylus movement of the DS will struggle with the sluggish alternative on offer here. On the harder settings, Meteos Wars is a frantic, fast-paced affair in need of an intuitive control system. You’ll be fine playing through on Normal. Crank it up to Insane and only those of you blessed with digit-crippling dexterity will prosper. It’s a shame it suffers so badly on the control front, because Meteos Wars could have offered a genuinely challenging alternative to Live’s block-dropping king, Lumines.
Jan 5, 2009