Nintendo DS game reviews

This page provides very short reviews of games for the Nintendo Gameboy DS handheld game console. The main reason for this page is to try to save some consumers (or potential consumers) out there from wasting some of their hard-earned cash on some of the absolute crap games out there. While i do like my DS, i have been less than impressed with most of the games i have bought for it. After having thrown away hundreds of Euros on dud games, my policy is that i will never buy another DS game unless i have found positive reviews for it at severely gaming web sites.

To try to put these reviews and ratings in perspective, one must understand my play style: i am NOT a "power gamer". i play for relaxation and entertainment. i enjoy looking around the content in a game and moving along at my own pace. i like to play through each level once or twice, and get extremely frustrated if a game is so difficult that it requires you to fully master each level (via 3+ playings) before continuing to the next. As a software developer, i am fairly tolerant of bugs in software, but not at all tolerant of major bugs in console games because once the ROM ships the game cannot be fixed. Thus, console games which exhibit more than the most minor of bugs immediately get added to my shit-list.

Below is my list of games. Click on one to see my rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) and any comments:
As a general guideline, the ratings can be understood to mean: Please note, however, that these ratings are my very personal subjective opinions, and some games would rate higher on other players' scales (Splinter Cell is probably a good example). In particular, any game which makes significant use of time limits will automatically be put on my shit-list and will get a lower rating. Some players might enjoy the stress of time limits, but time limits just frustrate me and piss me off. For example, i won't ever buy another Spiderman game, no matter how much i like Spiderman, because every one of the games i've tried has time limits on several of the levels.

The games...

Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Rating: 4
Quite an entertaining addition to the Advance Wars franchise, but (like its predecessors) the computer players are way too aggressive for my tastes, kicking my ass more often than not. Thus i have never finished playing this game. My other complaint with the whole Advanced Wars series of games is that the combat results are 100% deterministic - there is no randomness whatsoever involved. (That is, if units A and B go into combat 100 times, the results will be the same 100 times.)

Age of Empires: the Age of Kings, Rating: 4
A nicely-done turn-based strategy game, but even the missions labeled as "easy" can be "not so easy". The graphics and audio are commendable and the scenario descriptions provide lots of interesting historical information (e.g., about Joan of Arc). i have never even gotten halfway through it, though, because it's just too hard to be any fun.

Anno 1701, Rating: 3.5
If you are a big fan of real-time strategy games, this one probably rates at a 4+ (out of 5). That said, i am not a huge RTS fan (i find them too stressful, especially when you can't configure the speed they run at). When reading this game's box there is no indication of whether it is RT or turn-based. Though my assumption was RT, because i had heard of the PC version of the game, i was actually hoping for turned-based. After about an hour of playing this game, i realized that there is way too much detail for me to keep track of in an RTS game (as opposed to turn-based). The graphics and sound are nice and the controls are fairly intuitive. Moving ships is a bit annoying because each "step" of movement requires first clicking the ship, then the destination, then the ship again, then the next destination, ad nauseum. i haven't played enough of the game to comment on the combat system or establishment of multiple colonies, but based on the amount of hectic involved in managing one colony properly, i'm not going to play this game enough to get to the point of having a second colony to manage. Also, the save-game support is weak. It has two save slots, but only the two most recent saves are kept. That is, you cannot keep an arbitrarily old saved game in the second slot. One big plus, however, is a feature that very, very few games have (most notably, Sid Meier's Pirates): an open-ended "endless" mode, where you can take your time building up and caring for your empire. That said, the weak save support probably doesn't help here.

Battles of Prince of Persia, Rating: 4
Overall a fun strategy game. It is a mixture of turn-based and card games, where each player takes turns using cards to enable or enhance his armies. The final levels were too difficult/frustrating for me to finish playing it, but i enjoyed getting to that point.

Brothers in Arms, Rating: 2.5
My all-around favourite (or 2nd favourite) video gaming genre is WWI/WWII/Viet Nam war simulation. Thus i was happy to finally see such a game crop up for the DS (nearly two years after the DS came out). All things considered, the game is "okay", but it could certainly be improved upon. The controls are a bit awkward, requiring the left hand for the control pad and shooting (L-button) and the right hand/touchpad for looking/turning (which is the awkward part). The missions are all pretty short (most require under 10 minutes to play) and there are, if i'm not mistaken, 15 of them. That means that the game probably takes about 3 hours to play through, which in my opinion is way too short for the 35 or 40 Euros the game costs. The 3D engine is reasonably well done but also has a few glitches (i got my character trapped inside a cement block once and had to restart the mission). The final missions of the first two campaigns are annoyingly difficult (the first one has a serious time constraint on killing two tanks and in the second my character just keeps falling over dead, apparently being shot by something which i cannot see). Luckily, though, the designers allow you to continue to the next campaign after defeating the 3rd level of the previous campaign, instead of having to complete all of the levels before continuing.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Rating: 3.5
Like all Castlevania games, this one has beautiful graphics and sound and interesting new gimmicks. After many hours of playing, however, i got frustrated by the long walks around the castle and one of the puzzles, and never finished playing it.

Children of Mana, Rating: 3.5
At the time i bought this game (early 2007) it had the best graphics i had yet seen for a DS game, as well as really nice audio (but unfortunately you cannot disable the music, and it becomes annoyingly repetative after a while). However, like the in-game music, the gameplay is extremely repetative. While it has "random dungeons", they are only random in the sense that the fixed floor designs are shuffled around to make "new" dungeons. All adventures are based around the same dungeon layouts over and over and over... If you just want to hack and slash, this is a good one, but after the first adventures you will have already seen most of what the game has to offer. The game developers could have used some GUI design input, as some of the UI design is annoying unfriendly to use. Were the game not so damned repetative, i would rate it at 4+.

Dungeon Explorers, Rating: 4
This game got some mediocre reviews around the net, but i was pleasantly surprised by it. It's very Diablo-esque and will be immediately familiar to players of Diablo, the PSP versions of Dungeon Siege and the Untold Legends series, and the GBA game Dark Alliance. In short, you pick an adventurer (from one of 9 race/class combinations, if i recall correctly), take on quests from the townsfolks, and wander the world to beat up monsters. The soundtrack is surprisingly good, and i haven't found myself wishing it would go away. The transition times when moving from zone to zone are remarkably short (a few seconds, compared to 30-90 seconds for the above-mentioned PSP games). The graphics are fairly good. The controls are fairly good, though navigating the inventory is a tad bit more tedious than it should be (but not annoyingly so). Apropos inventory, there's a disappointly small amount of good equipment to be found for your character - my warrior is level 27 and has still found no armor better than plain scale mail. The game, curiously, makes absolutely no use of the touchscreen - it doesn't react to it at all. It does, however, allow you to swap the top/bottom screens, so that you can use whichever is more comfortable for you. All in all this game is an entertaining dungeon crawler with no new concepts but a solid implementation of tried and true formula.

Final Fantasy III, Rating: 4
Square Enix does it again...
Final Fantasy Tactics for the Gameboy Advance is my all-time-favourite GBA game, so i bought this game without hesitation when i saw it. (i had tried playing Final Fantasy I and II for the Gameboy Advance, but got so sick of having to fight wandering monsters every 2.5 seconds.) FF III for the DS is a cleaned-up (graphically speaking) rendition of that series. Like its predecessors, it is a rock solid game. While it is called a "role playing game", in my opinion it is nothing of the sort as the only way to advance in the game (the ONLY way to get experience points) is to kill monsters. Not much role playing in that, but it's fun nonetheless. Like FF I & II, stamping out endless hoards of wandering monsters gets repetative, especially since you need to spend a great deal of time leveling up (i.e., walking in circles waiting for monsters to kill). However, FF III has a more expanded Jobs system, allowing for a bit more experimentation to help break the repetition. This game easily beats out Children of Mana for the best graphics i have seen for a DS game - they are absolutely lovely. Unlike Children of Mana, the UI is very well laid-out and the game is completely navigable with either the stylus or buttons so you can use whichever is more comfortable at the moment. If you're into fantasy-themed hack-n-slash games, then you probably cannot go wrong with this one. The only minor nitpicks i have with the game are the small number of configurable options - i would have like to see the ability to turn the music off and to make the message texts scroll by much faster (this is configurable, but "fast" is still annoyingly slow).

Final Fantasy IV, Rating: 4
Like every other game in the FF franchise, this one is beautifully done but requires that the player spend about 75% of his time leveling up his characters (that is, running around in circles while waiting for random monsters). Unlike most other installments, the early levels are downright difficult, with no sympathy whatsoever for casual gamers such as myself. The wandering monsters regularly beat the crap out of the PCs. After getting past the 3rd or 4th stage, the difficulty levels appear to level out to something more playable, and then the game gets enjoyable (on the same scale as other games in the series).

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Rating: 1.5
This FF game is different from its predecessors in that it is basically a real-time-strategy game. That, for me, is the first turn-off - i don't like RTS unless i have only one character to control. In this game you have to control a number of hero characters and their summoned allies (up to about 10 units at a time). The game is, at the start, so simple that a two year old could get through it. When you reach mission 1.4, though, about 30 minutes into the game, that all changes. After 5 attempts at getting through it, i was still getting nowhere close to succeeding (never eliminating more than half of the bad guys before they wiped me out). So this game has landed in my trash bin. i might try a few more times if i wasn't forced to tap through the cutscenes on each attempt, but as it is, i've given up on this game.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Rating: 1.5
A very close relative of FF Ring of Fates (see below), this game uses the same engine and most of the same controls. It seemed to be a pretty interesting game until i took on the first quest. The first quest not only has a 5 minute time limit (I HATE TIME LIMITS IN MY GAMES!) but they also force you to kill a certain number of creatures using only fire magic. Each of the creatures takes about 3 hits to kill, and you only have enough spell points to cast the spell about 3 times before needing a refill (refills are dropped by many monsters, but at some point you will run out, and cannot complete the quest). If the first quest has a time limit, my assumption is that later quests will also have time limits, I FU<<ING HATE TIME LIMITS in games, so i've dropped this game in the trash bin alongside the Wii version of this game.

See my review of the Wii version of this game for many more complaints. There are few, if any, differences between the DS and Wii versions, except for how the split-screen layout is done.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, Rating: 2.5
i was all ready to rate this game at 4.5+, but then got to the fourth boss... Like all FF games, it has beautiful graphics and sound and makes good use of the DS controls. It has, for the first 3 hours, a very comfortable pace of play - you can walk around and fight monsters at your own pace and never be seriously threatened with extiction. Even the bosses are pretty easy. Some of the cutscenes are horrendously long (after the 3rd boss i waited about 10 minutes through the next cutscene before skipping over the next half of it). Then comes the fourth boss. After 18(!!!) failed attempts to beat him (most attempts lasting no more than 20 seconds), i had given up. He damages you so fast that the built-in two-second delay in activating spells and potions is simply too long, making healing in time impossible (unless one heals fully after taking only 10% or 20% damage). That's no fun.

After more than 20 attempts at defeating the fourth boss, i finally got the S.O.B., and now i can say more:

While the game is graphically beautiful, and the actual play above average, several aspects of it notably detract from play. First off, dropped items must be manually picked up. The reason is for fairness in multi-player games, but in single player mode it's horribly distracting. Secondly, the other characters in the party are, when controlled by the AI, not only effectively useless but are a hindrance. e.g. the main PC can (at 12th level or so) do 70-90 points of damage per swing, hitting 2-3 times per second. When controlled by AI he will swing about once per 3-5 seconds (that's less than 10% as often as he's capable of), even if standing directly next to a baddie. This makes the extra characters not only annoying (they require lots of babysitting), but also a huge waste of resources (i.e. healing spells and potions, which you don't find all that often compared to useless treasures like Mu Fur). Combined with the must-pick-up-items mechanics, where the items often fall near the extra characters, the extra characters in the party just get in the way more often than not. This problem with shortage of healing medicines is compounded greatly on levels where one has to use healing magics to force invisible opponents to become visible (namely, the level called "???", which is by far the most difficult/frustrating level i've visited).

i can only recommend this game for hard-core Final Fantasy fans, and not casual gamers. If i had known in advance how tedious it would be mid- to late-game, i wouldn't have started playing it.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, Rating: 4.5
One of my all-time favourite GBA games is Final Fantasy Tactics (though i am less than impressed with the version released for the Sony PSP). It's one of only a small handful of games which i've played through multiple times (5 or 6 times, if i recall correctly). When this rendition came out i was hesitant to get it, afraid that it would either be a 1-to-1 translation to the DS, or a watered-down imitation. Wrong on both accounts. If you enjoyed the GBA edition, you'll enjoy this one. If you didn't enjoy the GBA edition, you probably won't enjoy this one. The game is immediately familiar to players of the previous release, with a familiar soundtrack (in enhanced quality), character graphics (only slightly enhanced), and battle maps (with much improved graphics). Like its predecessor, the jobs system is fairly flexible and full of options, enhancing replay value significantly over less flexible games. The laws system has been enhanced, with laws now being explained in a bit more detail. e.g. instead of the description "ranged" we now get "attacks with guns, bows, .... are not allowed." Also, the current laws are displayed prominently on the top screen during battles. Not only are there penalties for breaking the laws (though quite different from the first edition), there are benefits for not breaking the laws (a nice touch, and a good example to children, IMO). All in all, FFTA2 is a pleasure. If i hadn't played through the first edition so many times i would probably be as addicted to A2 as i was to its predecessor. As it is, though, i got pretty burned out on the first edition and will probably only play through A2 once or twice. Ah, and i must add that FFTA2 is (IMO) far better than the FFT edition released for the Sony PSP.

Frogger Helmet Chaos, Rating: 3
An entertaining game, but it requires way more reflexes and practice than i care to invest in a game. Fun for hard-core gamers, but probably not for casual gamers. Graphically very nice.

Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, Rating: 3
Overall quite nice, but even on "easy" setting some of the levels are a real bitch. The default controller settings are useless, requiring a nearly impossible combination of hands for the touch-screen, but after changing the layout to something more reasonable, the game is quite fun. Unfortunately, quite a bit of content cannot be unlocked without playing through some very difficult levels (which i never bothered doing).

Lego Battles, Rating: 2.5
This fast-paced real-time strategy game is similar to conventional build-and-conquer games, but is set in the Lego universe. It is a real-time strategy game, and if i had known that when i was at the game store i wouldn't have bought it (i don't like RTS). Graphically the game is mediocre - the cutscenes are nice but the in-play graphics are a bit early-90's. There are tons of levels to conquer (90, according to the box), but i find the gameplay much too fast-paced for my tastes. RTS fans will probably enjoy this game, but i'm not an RTS fan.

Lego Star Wars II, Rating: 1
Lego Star Wars for the Gameboy Advance is one of my all-time favourite GB games. This successor can only be labeled as a complete let-down. In the first 15 minutes of play i locked up the game 3 times, and i am entirely convinced that the final level cannot be completed due to level design bugs. The whole game is fraught with bugs of all types, from a truly broken 3D engine to poor level design. The publisher has announced that they will release a fixed version once their supplies of the bad ones run out, but my response to that is a big fat "F*** YOU", because that does not help any of us who bought this utter piece of shit. Even if offered a free replacement ROM, i would turn it down because i don't want to spend another 15+ hours re-collecting all of the bonuses i accumulated the first time around. Curiously, the Gamecube version of this game is about 2000x better, and suffers from none of the drawbacks of this completely broken implementation.

Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga, Rating: 4.5
It was with some hesitation that i bought this game because Lego Star Wars II (see above) was, without a shadow of a doubt, the buggiest console game i have ever seen. That said, this addition to the franchise is, like most of its predecessors, downright excellent. It makes fairly good use of the touch screen, the graphics are well done, and the game play is entertaining. i would almost call this game flawless, but one of the levels (Episode 2, Chapter 1) locks up during one of the cut scenes every time i play it on my DS Lite (but works fine on my older DS).

Lock's Quest, Rating: 3.5
This is an interesting real-time strategy game where one has to build up castle-like structures to fend off hoardes of robots. While i enjoy the presentation and premise of the game, i find it a bit too hectic for my tastes. It doesn't require the same insane speed as Lost Magic, but it requires a good deal of speed and attention across an ever-more-frantic battlefield. Those half my age can certainly deal with it, but it's a tad too fast for me to find entertaining.

Lost Magic, Rating: 2
The first 15 minutes of this game are promising, with pleasing graphics and audio. Then, at the second or third level, this game requires you to have insanely good (and fast fast fast) control of the stylus for casting spells and controling your units in real-time battles. i got frustrated after 4 or 5 attempts and gave up. (Again, i play for relaxation and entertainment, and this game requires you to want to master it.)

Mr. Driller Drill Spirits, Rating: 4.5
Probably my most-played DS game, this simple-to-learn, addictive game should keep just about anyone entertained for many hours. While i generally do not much care for reflex-based games, this one is an exception, and has occupied me for more hours than i care to count.

Operation Vietnam, Rating: 3
In this war-genre game you lead a group of four soldiers through the jungles of Vietnam. It is not a realistic/simulation game, but an arcade game. The 3D engine is simple yet suitable and could also be used to good effect in other games (i would particularly like to see Operation Vietnam re-themed as a dungeon-hacking game). The graphics, while not stunning, are quite good by DS standards. The controls are simple and easy to learn, and the gameplay brings me back to the days of the arcade classics.

Orcs And Elves, Rating: 4
Orcs & Elves can probably be best compared to the ancient classic Bard's Tale, in that it is a first-person turn-based fantasy adventure. While there (still) is a market for such a game with randomized dungeons, this is not it. Instead it is story-based and you crawl through the cavernous home of the dwarves to flush out the ill-intenioned Orcs who've raided the mountains. The game play is, on the surface, not at all "modern", with turn-based movement across a sqare grid and a really cheesy "swinging of the sword" animation, but in a way it is nostalgia at its best. This will probably appeal more to the "old school" gamers. rather than those who's first game was Doom (or those who consider Doom to be new-school!). The UI is ideal for games of the Nethack/Moria flavour.

The user interface is something i definitely want to see more of in future games - selecting equipment and other items is easy and quick using the touch-pad. Even nicer is the ability to save and load at any point, a feature sorely lacking from the vast majority of console games. Not only can you save anywhere, loading is pretty quick (about 5 seconds), so it's painless to test out various strategies before commiting yourself to a particular encounter.

RPG fans may be looking for more detail than this game provides. There are no character classes, no upgrade paths, no choices whatsoever in character advancement. All of that is hard-coded, but that is also part of the charm of this game - you can get right to gaming and not be bothered by extraneous details. Likewise, the turn-based movement allows you more time to think than a real-time game does, and planning moves can be an important strategy element.

Though i am only two hours or so into this game, so far it certainly seems like one which i will become quite attached to.

Panzer Tactics, Rating: 4
This is the game which all wargaming fans have been waiting for. It's a WW2-genre turn-based strategy game played out on a hexagonal playing field (the first hex-based game i've seen on any handheld device). It has an extensive set of tutorial missions and three separate campaigns (German, Russian, U.S.), each of increasing difficulty. Die-hard wargamers might be disappointed at some of the simplifications this game makes (e.g., you don't have to create/recruit transport planes and ships - they just appear whenever they're needed), but rest assured that those simplifications lead to a more streamlined game. i have only minor nitpicks with the game so far. The first is that the combat is a bit too deterministic. It's not 100% deterministic (as is the case in the Advance Wars series of games), but it's pretty close. The second is that there is only one save-game slot (but this is an exceedingly minor annoyance for a game of this type). Overall, however, i'm completely satisfied with Panzer Tactics and highly recommend it to any wargaming fans.

Peter Jackson's King Kong, Rating: 1
Of all games ever made, for all platforms, this is one of the worst. Do not waste a single second, or a single cent, on this one. The controls are awkward and the boss at the end of the first level cannot always be beat. The (completely inobvious) conditions for the defeat of the first boss only appear to happen about 1 in 5 fights, which is particularly frustrating because you have to re-play the whole level to try again after he kicks your ass. Also, the packaging of the game misleads one into thinking that he gets to play Kong climbing up the big building near the end of the game, but that is all cut-scene animation - the player does not get to participate.

Populous, Rating: 2
If i had known that this was a real-time strategy game, i wouldn't have bothered buying it (because i don't like RTS games, especially on such a small screen). This game is probably very interesting to those who like lightning-fast RTS gameplay, but i don't move that quickly and don't enjoy games which require me to move that quickly. Anyway... the premise is something like this: you play the role of a god or demigod, manipulating the landscape to make it suitable for your worshipers to live on. All the while you must also undo the landscaping which your opponent does and un-undo the damage he does to yours. Hectic, fast-paced, and graphically a bit underwhelming.

Robots, Rating: 1
The movie was great but the game absolutely sucks. The 3D is extremely awkward, making fighting difficult and proper jumping nearly impossible in places. After several attempts at completing the first level i gave up. There is a spot where you have to jump across a series of moving platforms and jumping from platform to platform fails for reasons known only to the game designers. While in mid-air your avatar will act as if he's hit a brick wall and will fall between the platforms (for no visible reason). Such behaviour gets really annoying really quickly.

Shrek Super Slam, Rating: 3
Very entertaining for the first few hours. Probably much more fun when playing multi-player. Younger players probably get a worthwhile kick from this game. The fact that you can play against up to 3 AI fighters, and individually set their difficulty levels, adds to the replay value. Some of the mini-games, which are required in order to unlock certain content, are a realy bitch to get through, and i never finished all of them before giving up in frustration.

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution, Rating: 4+
i was a bit hesitant about buying this because i've played several versions of the Civilization line of games and consistently had two problems with them: A) the combat rules absolutely suck (a spearman can take down a stealth bomber, and one musketeer can take out three modern infantrymen plus a howitzer all at once), and B) they tend to kick my ass. However, i was hopeful that they had scaled back the scope considerably for the DS, and decided to give it a try. All in all, i'm impressed. It's basically a whole new game, with only a superficial resemblance to the older games in the series. It's extremely streamlines and simplified, easy to play, easy to deal with (not too many details), has 5 or 6 save slots, and is overall really well done. For any sort of strategy gamer, this is a must-have. For those who are unfamiliar with the original line of games, the FreeCiv Project has been actively maintaining a Free/Open Source clone of Civilization for over ten years.

Spiderman 2, Rating: 3.5
My very first DS game, this one is graphically very beautiful and has fantastic audio. But... i HATE that so many of the levels have hard time limits. That ruins the game for me, and i gave up less than halfway through it because i do not get any enjoyment out of having to play each level 5 times before i can beat it in time. If you're a speed freak, and any sort of super-hero fan, you'll probably enjoy this game. If you don't like replaying levels and honing your timing to near perfection, this one isn't for you. If the levels didn't have such tight time limits, i would rate this one at 4+.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Rating: 3.5
A nicely-done game, but unfortunately way too difficult for my tastes. If you like difficult games which require very good reflexes, flawless timing, and a good deal of patience, you may enjoy this game.

Starwars Battlefront Elite Squadron, Rating: 2.5
This is not the Battlefront we all know and love - dozens of rebel and imperial soldiers running around shooting each other and taking command posts. In this mission-based game you take on the role of a single soldier from an isometric-like viewpoint. The game starts off rather nicely, but we quickly come to the kind of level which i have never in my life been able to beat: we are on some form of moving platform, moving at its own speed, and we have to shoot down things (which are shooting back) as we pass by. Don't do it fast enough and they shoot you down instead. i HATE that type of level, and was forced to finally give up on Rogue Trooper (for the Wii) after 10+ attempts at a similar level. So i never made it past that level (3rd or 4th), and cannot say anything beyond that.

Star Wars Episode III, Rating: 4
A suprisingly fun comic-book-style rendition of the film. Only one of the levels is frustrating enough to make you want to bash the thing to bits (you have to pilot a ship through some unrealistically annoying "streets" where nobody in their right minds would drive, and getting through that level takes 5+ attempts). Aside from that one complaint, this game is recommended for any Star Wars fans.

Tetris, Rating: 3.5
My very first Gameboy, bought in 1991, came with Tetris. i never did master it, but i played it quite a lot back then. So much, in fact, that i got burned out on it and vowed never to play it again. That said, my girlfriend and i have gotten many hours of multi-player enjoyment out of this updated rendition of the classic game. With several modes of play, it offers something for classic Tetris fans and those who want something new.

Ultimate Spiderman, Rating: 3.5
Like Spiderman 2, described above, but i quit on the 3rd level because i HATE having time limits shoved on me. That ruins the fun of the game for me. If the levels didn't have such tight time limits, this game would probably get a rating of 4+.

Valkyrie Profile Covenant of the Plume, Rating: 1
This game had some great promise, with a unique and adult story, but it's SO INCREDIBLY FRIGGING DIFFICULT that it's no fun at all to play. Don't bother with this one. If you do not follow exactly the proper game decision paths, you can get put into situations (battles) which literally cannot be beaten later on, meaning that you must always be sure to keep two or three save slots marking the most recent story paths, and may very well have to backtrack to an earlier slot at some point. i have ZERO patience for that type of play.

Worms: Open Warfare, Rating: 4
A long-time Worms fan, i bought this the moment i saw it. It is a fairly accurate rendition of the older PC games, with some unfortunate limits due to the handheld unit's simple CPU and small screen(s). It has a couple annoying, yet minor, bugs but is nonetheless good for hours of fun. Some examples of bugs include worms occasionaly getting stuck (unable to move) for no apparent reason or falling through the ground and off the screen when using the ninja rope (again for no apparent reason). Also, weapons which fire multiple times do the same amount of damage regardless of whether you hit with one shot or multiple shots (e.g., the shotgun), making the multiple shots useless when aimed at a single target.

Worms: Open Warfare 2, Rating: 4
This game is essentially the same as all other games in this series. Like its cousins, it is well done. Improvements in this version include graphic improvements, e.g. much larger battlefields and animated backgrounds. The campaign mode is quite extensive. So far (a few hours into playing it), it doesn't seem to suffer from some of the minor bugs from Open Warfare 1 (see above). A new addition to this version is the ability to unlock certain features (e.g. the classic Donkey weapon!) by buying them with points gained via beating campaign missions. So far i have only two minor complaints with this version. The first is the limit of 4 worms per team - 8 would make me much happier, especially considering how large the battlefields can be in this game. The second is that the game shows playing tips during the "load" screens, but it's always the same 4 or 5 tips over and over. In any case, fans of the Worms series (i've been enjoying them for some 9 years now) will find themselves well served by this addition to the franchise. Newcomers may also find a reason to become addicted to the world of Worms.