March 10, 2005 (JP)
June 27, 2005 (NA)
September 23, 2005 (EU)
November 24, 2005 (AU)
Q Entertainment’s Meteos is a fast-paced puzzler that has players making rows of three or more of the same blocks (meteos) in order to launch them into space. The game combines some elements from other puzzle games as well as unique elements to create a truly fun and addicting experience.
Meteos’ main single player mode (Star Trip) has what many puzzle games do not – a story. Even though it’s rudimentary and quite basic, it still provides a backdrop for advancing the game. The planet Meteo is sending forth meteos to attack other planets, and you have to clear the meteos and blast them off into space before they destroy each planet, proceeding through several planets before the final battle at Meteo. While the story isn’t much, it’s enough to keep you playing and give you something to aim for.
Not that it needs it. The gameplay is addictive in itself. Using the stylus, you will be dragging meteos up and down to make rows of three or more, which sends them launching into space. All the while, more meteos will be falling from the sky, and if the screen fills up, you fail. The quick, precise motions that you need to do in order to line up the blocks would be next to impossible without the stylus control, but Meteos offers the option of (far inferior) d-pad control as well. To get the most out of the game, there’s really no reason not to use the stylus.
Just because Meteos is fast-paced, however, doesn’t mean that you can just randomly start scribbling the screen and launch the tiles. The game requires every bit of brainpower that other puzzle games such as Tetris require, except that you’ll have to think a lot faster and plan your movements quickly, all the while matching meteos and launching them into space.
Each of the planets has their own unique properties. Some have higher gravity, which makes it more difficult to launch meteos into space. On these planets you’ll have to keep matching meteos in the same stack after they launch once and start falling back down to the ground. Some planets have bigger meteos, while others have meteos falling at a faster rate. If you thought the game was fast and furious on the beginning planets, wait until you get to some of the later ones that exploit some of these properties. The unique aspects of each planet give the gameplay some variety and keep it from becoming a boring “Match the blocks and launch them” puzzle fest.
Meteos features a ton of unlockable content. The meteos that you send into space are counted up and used to unlock such things as new planets, items, and music. The items range from pickaxes to bombs to hammers, and they will sometimes fall along with the meteos in a stage. Once you activate them, they will clear out a certain number of meteos or otherwise help (or sometimes even hinder) you. The new planets are perhaps the best addition though, as they open up new possibilities in the gameplay of the single player marathon mode.
Multiplayer in Meteos is limited to local wireless, allowing you to compete with up to three of your friends in an all-out block-launching war. Single-cart download play is supported, however the “demo” version utilized is somewhat limited. To get the full multiplayer experience, it’s best that each player have their own copy of the game. Multi-card play has a robust amount of options for each player to choose, including their own home planet and items, while single-card is limited to one stage. The game doesn’t track statistics in single-card play either, so that’s another reason for each player to have their own cartridge.
As far as the graphics, each planet has its own set of meteos as well as its own background, which fit the atmosphere of the planet perfectly. The visuals aren’t incredible by any means, but go far beyond the norm for a puzzle game. The sounds are traditional sci-fi sirens and and blips, and the musical theme of each planet fits the planet’s atmosphere.
Meteos is one of the best puzzle games available on the DS. Not only does it offer a unique experience rather than being a simple clone of Tetris, it also succeeds in using the touch screen capabilities of the DS to the fullest. The touchscreen control allows for much more precision and fluidity than a d-pad, and there’s enough content and addictiveness here to keep you locked to your DS for a long time.
Addictive puzzle gameplay.
Great use of touchscreen.