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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: SouthPeak Games
Developed By: Arkedo Studio
Genre: Party
Players: 1
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: January 21, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty





March 2, 2009 - When you first look at Big Bang Mini, it’s hard to categorize the gaming experience without experiencing it first-hand. While the gameplay mechanics mimic that of a shoot ‘em-up, the visuals, controls and style of the gameplay create a unique experience of which is not often seen on the Nintendo DS. While traditional shoot ‘em-up titles don't possess an easy learning curve, Big Bang Mini attempts to satisfy both beginners and skilled players by programming the game’s difficulty to change depending on how well you do.

Big Bang Mini features nine distinct levels. All of which have nine stages of their own, as well as a nasty boss to do battle against. As you progress through these various stages, you will come across some interesting and unique power-ups along with hazards that can turn the tides within battle. Arkedo Studios design the gameplay to be somewhat adaptive in the sense that as you become more powerful in the game, the levels and action get more intense. One of these power-ups include the ability to create a vortex, which will absorb any and all enemy attacks by swirling the stylus in a circular motion on the bottom screen. While it may be argued that 81 stages is a pretty extensive shooting game, there are several more levels included within the game which are bonus stages. After completing each stage, you have the opportunity to complete a bonus stage which consists of connect-the-dots minigames. While these minigames aren’t ground-breaking, they do offer up a bit of variety in between the hectic over-the-top battles that comprise the Arcade mode.



If you are able to successfully complete the Arcade mode, you will gain access to the Mission Mode, which is a modified version of the Arcade mode. What separates Mission mode and Arcade mode apart from one another is the fact that within Mission mode, stipulations are now put into place in order to successfully complete a stage. These stipulations range from beating the stage within a certain time limit, firing off a certain amount of shots, or my favorite…never missing a single shot. While this mode isn’t that difficult, it takes your newly developed skills from within the Arcade mode and puts them to the test to see how skillful you really are.

If Arcade mode and Mission mode aren’t enough to hold you over then there is also the inclusion of Challenge Mode and Versus Mode, which can add dozens of additional hours to your gameplay experience. The Challenge mode plays very similar to that of the arcade mode, with the only differences being that the enemies, visuals and music are completely new. The score that you achieve within this mode can be uploaded to online leaderboards, which have been put into place so that you can show off to your friends and see which players are the best of the best. Within Versus mode, two players are allowed to play against one another; via one game cart, in an all-out battle to the death. By facing the DS units towards one another, you can take advantage of various power-ups and the shear volley of firework attacks in order to defeat your opponent. What adds a little bit more spice to this mode is the ability to send your opponent’s attacks back to them by tapping them once they appear on your screen.



While the whole gameplay experience is unique to the Nintendo DS, it’s also unique to Big Bang Mini. Each level brings about a unique and immersive experience, which only seems to be outdone by the following levels. The backdrops, character models, and special effects are all nicely done, which at times lend their off-the-wall looks to one another. To round out the immersive presentation is a solid collection of musical tracks, which can have you one minute bouncing to the beat, and the next simply swaying from side to side via atmospheric melodies. In an era where an immersive presentation can make or break a title, Arkedo Studios decided to swing for the fences, which ended up producing one of the most visually pleasing and unique gaming experiences for the Nintendo DS.

Big Bang Mini features very intuitive controls, which lend themselves very well to the action within the game. With your mighty stylus in hand you can attack your opponents simply by flicking your stylus across the screen, which would result in a firework being shot out within the same direction as your stylus stroke. What makes this setup interesting is the fact that the projectiles used to destroy your enemies don’t come from the ship itself. If your stylus stroke comes from the side of the screen to the middle, the fireworks will follow the same path. The stylus is also utilized to move your ship around on the screen to avoid attacks and backfire from one of your failed attacks. Thank's right folks, when you launch fireworks at your enemy and they miss, the fireworks explode and dangerous debris falls from the sky towards your ship, which could end up damaging, if not destroying your ship. However, if you are in fact successful in striking your enemies with these firework attacks, they will explode into a “spectacle of colors”. While the controls are very responsive via the stylus, signals can get crossed. For instance when you swipe your stylus with the intention of sending out a firework attack but the swipe is too close to your ship, resulting in the ship being moved as opposed to sending out an attack.



While there have been several shooters released on the Nintendo DS prior to Big Bang Mini, many of them were missing the artistic flare which is what helps this title stand out. Though not on the scale as many AAA titles for the home consoles, Big Bang Mini provides a solid simple-player gaming experience, alongside solid visuals and high replay value, which is being sought after by gamers around the world. With the “oh so right” price tag of $19.99, Big Bang Mini is a title that everyone should own, whether or not they like shooting-based games.

8.5/10


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