As a fan of the PSP and Xbox Live Arcade games, I was horrified by the control scheme when I first turned on this Nintendo DS version. Instead of the standard D-pad controls, the game expected me to move my character and save the survivors using the touch screen. In theory this shouldn't be that big of a deal, the game has a slow pace and often feels like a point and click adventure game. But after a dozen puzzles or so I realized that I just couldn't take it anymore. The touch screen controls simply don't get the job done, which is essential when you're trying to save people. Thankfully you can turn off the touch screen controls and revert the game to the standard D-pad/face button layout that I am so used to thanks to the PSP and XBLA.
The game's graphics and sound haven't changed much over the last two years. The game is still features an impressive cartoon styling, using a lot of silhouettes and straight lines. The biggest difference here is the aspect ratio, while the PSP and XBLA games were both widescreen, this Nintendo DS game is presented in the standard 4 x 3 screen. At first I worried that this would cause a problem, but after playing a few rounds I barely noticed it. The top screen features the level map, which is certainly one of the more helpful additions to the game. All in all, the game's presentation is on par with the other versions, even if it's not widescreen.
The game's box makes mention of a Nintendo DS WiFi mode, which certainly intrigued me. Unfortunately the "online" mode isn't worth saying much about. It is essentially a leader board set-up that allows you to compare your score and time with people all across the world. I guess that's not a bad thing, but I was expecting more. Then again, this is not one of those games that lends itself to online play, so I'm not sure what I was expecting. PSP gamers were able to go online and download hundreds of new levels to complete; unfortunately none of the extra content seems to be available in this version of the game.
Regardless of whether you're new to the series or a seasoned pro, there's plenty to like in Exit DS. While it seems odd that the game would finally make it to the Nintendo DS two years after the PSP game debuted, it's nice to see the franchise alive and well. Once you change the control scheme and learn what you're doing, you can have a lot of fun playing through more than 100 levels of disasters. Even if it feels like you're just doing the same thing over and over, you'll be curious to see what disaster the game throws at you next. By the end of the game you will have sworn that you had seen every disaster possible, but I'm sure Taito can concoct a few new ones for an Exit sequel. At the low, low price of $20 it's hard to pass up one of the best Nintendo DS puzzle games, even if you've already gone through it before on another system.
More On:Exit DS
Mr. ESC is back to drink coffee and save the day. With more than 100 levels to complete, you'll be at Exit DS for some time to come. Unfortunately the game doesn't feel as fresh two years later, but that shouldn't keep you from having a great time playing through this disaster-filled puzzle game!
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