However, the attacks themselves lack variety – this isn’t a sophisticated fighting game in which each critter has 20, ten, or even four different attacks. You really just pound the A button and hope to execute a special attack now and then. If your Spectrobe is the right color to fight a certain enemy (the three colors are basically the same as rock, paper, scissors – each is strong against one other color and weak against the other) you’ll do well. If your Spectrobe is the wrong color, it is probably doomed to die no matter what you do in battle.
Once you’ve purged the enemies from an area, it’s time to get space-paleontological and dig up some new critters. This is actually the best part of the game, as the way you find new Spectrobes is pretty cool. You get tools like a slime-sucking vacuum and ice-melting torch to make the fossils easier to get to, and you have to be careful when excavating, staying gentle with the tools and puffing into the mic to blow dust away. Once you’ve extracted all the fossils safely, it’s back to your ship where you yell ‘em awake, feed them rocks to help them grow and evolve (if you like), and move on to the next planet.
Overall, Spectrobes looks okay for a DS game, and the art design is actually really nice. Plus, the multiplayer modes (online trading and local trading and battling) and the ability to customize your creatures by feeding them minerals should add extra longevity. The controls and camera do you no favors, and it could really benefit from more complexity in battle - we’d like to hammer buttons other than A once in awhile, please. But if the series continues to improve, it could find itself running down a certain electric yellow chinchilla in a few more years.
Nov 3, 2008