Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Video game number three hundred and twenty: Galactic Taz Ball

Video game review number three hundred and twenty in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Galactic Taz Ball".

Gamefly recommended this one to me. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now, but nope. I tried another one I'd never heard and and confirmed once again that I really need to stop listening to Gamefly.

This game would have been a basic, possibly even halfway decent platformer if someone hadn't made the decision to add a half-assed trackball control to the bottom screen and make that the only way you could move your character around. This shitty control scheme renders the game pretty much unplayable, as drawing with a pencil is no substitute for a real trackball.

So how about the buttons? Well, if you are right handed, you'll have the stylus in your right hand, which means you won't be able to press any of the buttons on the DS. Luckily for you, you can mash the d-pad to activate the game's only "button", which is a ground stomp. It feels weird to do this with your left hand, but whatever. I dealt with it.

Navigating your way through the levels would be difficult enough using this awful control scheme, but to make things a little harder, they removed all of the edges from the levels...and then lifted the ground high into the sky. This means falling off the levels is almost guaranteed at times. Once you start your character moving, there's only one way to stop him. You have to tap on the trackball, simulating what you might do with a real trackball to stop it. This move sometimes takes a few times to get right, which often means you'll run into an enemy (or right off the edge of the level) if you're not careful.

Aside from the ground stomp, you have only one other power, and that's to spin around in circles, as Taz has been known to do. You activate this special ability by drawing lines across the "trackball" as fast as you possibly can, which starts Taz spinning. Spinning enables you to cross bodies of water, attack certain enemies...and break open item boxes. Unfortunately, there's no way to stop yourself once you start "Tazzing" except the ground stomp.

Every once in awhile, you'll need to jump into a hole, which is a doorway to these strange Sideways levels. These levels are actually more fun than the main game, but you can only go left and right in them, and once have to use that trackball to get yourself started. It's almost impossible to die in these levels, except for the fear of falling off the edge due to the bad controls.

Overall Score? 2/10. One of the worst DS games I've ever played. This is the kind of shovelware that abounds on the platform, and hopefully parents don't subject their children to it just because it happens to be on sale for 14.99 at Eb Games right now.

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