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The Top 7… bitchin' fireworks displays

If you’ve never played it, then there are exactly two things you need to know about Big Bang Mini. First, it’s a game about fireworks, specifically about using them as weapons. Second, this is what an average game screen looks like:

Above: That floating snowball in the lower half of the shot is you, by the way

Sporting wildly diverse themed levels and ridiculously fun gameplay, Big Bang Mini is impossible not to like on some level. Especially when it features enemies that look like this:

Above: Seriously, what the hell is that duck-pirate thing supposed to be?

Or, for that matter, like this:

Above: Actually, that walrus might be a little too Lisa Frank to qualify as awesome

Weirdness aside, though, Big Bang Mini delivers where it counts, in the form of some of the best fireworks on the DS (outside of Geometry Wars: Galaxies, anyway, although that’s disqualified because its many fireworks-like explosions aren’t actually supposed to be fireworks).

Above: Actual supposed fireworks. Also balloons

Like in any classic shooter, it’s when things get the most crowded that they’re at their prettiest, as enemies and missed shots alike explode in big, colorful showers of airborne sparks.

Sure, you’ll need to take your eyes off the action for a second to move out of the way of all the falling debris, but setting the sky on fire with a few flicks of the DS is a great feeling, especially when it results in some of the weirdest pyrotechnic displays ever to grace an LCD screen.

Above: Everyone knows aliens are allergic to gunpowder and colored flames. That’s just common sense

1. Boom Boom Rocket

Yeah, it doesn’t have a huge fan following or even particularly innovative design, but when it comes to delivering flashy, realistic fireworks displays, Boom Boom Rocket does it better than every other game on this list.

So what if it’s a glorified, fireworks-themed take on Dance Dance Revolution? It’s hard to argue with the results, especially when the results look like this:

At that, Boom Boom Rocket’s simplicity is a thing to be admired; there’s no bullshit about plot, or enemies, or making players chain together explosions in certain ways and not detonating their fireworks if they fail. This one’s all about mashing buttons (or dance-pad arrows) and watching things explode in brilliant HD.

Of course, it still pales in comparison to the real thing. But if what you’re looking for is a virtual approximation of same, Boom Boom Rocket is easily the closest a game has ever come.

Now that you’ve made it to the end, we’ve prepared a small surprise for you. Enjoy:

June 29, 2009

And five more with absolutely no love for the red, white and blue

Buy a few potions, chat up the locals and then watch it all burn

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Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.