Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Von Kaiser's Best of the DS 2007

The year is fast approaching its wrap party. A tsunami of titles overwhelmed the little village DS but thankfully I have a bucket and sponge and can help clean up the overflow. Let's reminisce...

The best of the best of 2007:

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

A strange hybrid of puzzle game and RPG that somehow works out perfectly. The kind of title that is so good that a sequel would be a disservice to the original. One of kind; let's hope it stays that way. Puzzle Quest: You are victorious!

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

A gimme. Come on, when would a Zelda release not make a list of the best releases of the year? The ignorami complain that Nintendo recycles titles like Zelda every couple of years but if they continue to make games this great then who cares? I'm astonished that a title based on a twenty year old franchise still manages to be fresh and fun. You have to give credit where credit is due. Phantom Hourglass picks up where Wind Waker left off and offers a brand new control scheme that is touch screen only. Easy pick for Game of the Year.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies

A port that turned a five dollar download into a full-featured time sucker. It'll leave you wanting to dust off that time machine you have out in the garage in an attempt to kill off Euclid before he can unleash the horrible destructive might of geometry.

Picross DS

A puzzler that has probably ridden more public transit than a welfare bum with a subsidized bus pass. Great fun and a relief from all the Sudoku titles pouring in.

Master of Illusion

The biggest surprise this year. A fun little gem of a game that uses the DS as your magic hat as you perform illusions for your friends and family. You'll be the hit of the party with this title in your DS. Guaranteed to make Zombie Houdini crap his pants with wonder and whimsy.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

The kind of game that you don't want to play too much in one sitting because then it'll be over too soon. Comfortable as a warm boot, Pokemon is your best friend on the subway from the job you hate back to your apartment on W63rd. "My Pokeymans; let me show you them." has turned into something of a gentle mock but it'll become your catchphrase in all sincerity after capturing a few Pokemon and stuffing them into their Pokeballs.

Contra 4

The Return of a Legend. I'm not going to write any more on this. Don't be dumb. It's Contra. 4.

Hotel Dusk: Room 215

This one squeaked in with a January release date. Hotel Dusk is one of the most stylish adventure games I've ever played. Beautiful pencil sketch graphics paired with an atmospheric soundtrack captures a pulp novel from the 40s but is, for whatever reason, set in the 70s. Gorgeous. If Geometry Wars is the girl you want to date, Hotel Dusk is the woman you want to marry.

Panzer Tactics DS

An impressive WWII strategy title with over 150 units and a depth of gameplay that will make you think even the bottomless pit can't be this deep. Some might compare this title to Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Not me though. Dual Strike is the better game overall and one of the best franchises Nintendo holds. Still lots of room for Panzer Tactics however. Can I just say again that Advance Wars is the best? I only wish it was a 2007 release so I could write more about Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Unfortunately it was an '05 release so I'll just have to leave it at buy Advance Wars: Dual Strike right now. Even if you already own it.

Biggest Disappointment

Spelling Challenges and More! Absolute garbage. I wish I knew that the "and More" referred to a bowlful of cold diarrhea before I laid out 30 clams on this title that can most charitably be called "broken."

Runner-up: Having no luck when it came to setting up SvSIP Such a tantalizing proposition; use your DS as a telephone. Why won't you work for me?

Best Homebrew

Colors! It'll hold you nicely until Bob Ross' Joy of Painting is released in 2008.

Best Accessory

Nintendo Headset

No longer do I have to shout "BLUE" into my DS's built in mic when playing Brain Age. Nice design too.


Finally, an emotional goodbye to my original DS; a piano black unit I bought used at 1UP in March. After 240 consecutive days and 1000 hours of playtime its trigger were broken and the touchscreen felt like a sandbox under my stylus. I traded it in for $75 and used that towards a brand new polar white unit. I'll miss you John M! You served me well.

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