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Point Blank DS review

Like a trip to the county fair... without the smell

For

  • Killing minutes at a time
  • The whacked-out minigames
  • Brain Massage ranking

Against

  • Not made for long sessions
  • Two-player loading times
  • Circus music must stop

If there's one genre that handheld game systems haven't been able to pull off, it's the light gun shooter. It doesn't really make sense - how do you pack in a life-size gun and still make it portable? Well, in the case of Point Blank DS, the gun becomes a stylus and, shockingly, everything works like magic. This is nothing more than a collection of twitchy, arcade-style shooting galleries designed for quick gameplay sessions, and in that regard, it hits the target dead on.

The regular game tests your firing abilities through several skill levels (beginner, advanced and the like). Each one is timed and revolves around hitting specific targets while avoiding bombs, unarmed people and other unsightly things. What kinds of targets? In some you're gunning for flying birds, while others are loaded with ninja cutouts or leaping skeletons. Most of the time you've got unlimited ammo, but a few of the minigames place restrictions on just how much lead you can let fly before the task is failed.

For the most part, the stylus functions as a light gun just fine. It's unavoidable that sometimes your hand is going to end up covering the screen, obstructing other targets from view, so more than once our scores suffered from a simple design flaw. Odder still is when you clearly see the gunshot animation (which appears wherever you tap the screen) pops up over a target... and it's not destroyed. Nine times out of 10 the hit detection is microscopically accurate, but there's always going to be moment's of "What the hell? I shot that damn thing!"

For longevity's sake, there's a Brain Massage mode that randomly selects certain galleries from the main game and keeps track of your blasting results. The better you do, the more tests you unlock and the stranger your title and rank becomes. We acquired names like "Undefeated Lawyer" and "Pro Hide-n-Seeker," if that's any indication of how seriously you should take these test scores. It's like a slightly more violent version of Big Brain Academy, which is nothing but good news.

More Info

GenreFamily
DescriptionThe twitchy, arcade shooter brings its barnyard of circus minigames to the handheld scene. Time to waste some paper ducks.
PlatformDS
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date:13 June 2006 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:DS
Genre:Family
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