Matt Triponey - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: Nintendo DS
Produced by: Nintendo
Price Range: $31-40
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: All Ages
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Reviewed By: Matt Triponey

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5 (none)

Meteos.  Illustration copyrighted.

It seems like for every triple-A title that comes out, there's another one that should be, but isn't quite. You know- that game that's a gem but never got the appropriate amount of advertising or hype.
Say hello to Meteos. It's one of those games.
You've probably never heard of Meteos, but you should. It's truly a great game that manages to shine despite its low recognizability.

Meteos plays out in the vein of most Nintendo games- a simple plot that's really only there to give you something to think about that won't distract you from the gameplay. In the game, the evil planet Meteo starts releasing little asteroid-like cubes called Meteos (evil planet Meteo perhaps isn't all that great at naming things) into space. The Meteos converge on the galaxy's various planets, utterly destroying them. Then, on the planet Geolyte, the native Geolytes (okay, so I guess it's not just Meteo) inadvertently discover that if three Meteos of the same color are joined together, they will reverse direction.
The Geolytes then become the protagonists of the game as they head from planet to planet aboard the Metamo Ark and attempt to repel the Meteos invasion, eventually taking the fight to Meteo itself.


Meteos hearkens back to the days of classic puzzle games such as Tetris and Dr. Mario. In gameplay, it is probably most similar to the latter. As you get to each planet, Meteos fall from the sky. Each planet has its own unique set of Meteos, but the concept remains the same- line up three of the same type to send them flying back into space. Now, from where you're sitting, you're probably wondering how this game is any good, because that concept has been beaten to death in puzzle games and is just boring at this point.

Well, Meteos is here to make the concept fresh again.
Lining up the Meteos, you see, is only half the battle. For starters, unlike other puzzle games, the Meteos don't disappear the second you line them up. Instead, they start rocketing up the screen. Sometimes, they can get bogged down by falling Meteos. They can also be affected by the planet itself. The planets- and this is where the game's uniqueness really shows- each have different characteristics, the most important of which is gravity. These characteristics change how Meteos will rise and fall, and it adds an element of strategy to this puzzle game. The campaign mode also has the distinction of being non-linear- like Star Fox 64, you have several paths of planets to follow, some of which are harder and more rewarding, and others of which are easy and fun. It's all up to you.

The controls are simple, but they didn't need to be too complex. The only thing you'll ever have to do is line up Meteos by guiding them with the stylus. There's a minor learning curve here, as grabbing the tiny Meteos and dragging them to the right place can be difficult at first, but you'll find you're doing it like a pro in no time.


Outside of the single-player mode, there's still plenty to do. You can choose from a list of planets and aliens and just play quick rounds to hone your skills. Doing this will also unlock elements, such as water, fire, earth, and air (don't worry; none of these carry magical connotations), as well as some oddities like electricity and zoo, all of which can be used to purchase new planets to play on, new species to play as, and new items that can be used to help stave off the Meteo horde. There's also a multiplayer, which, fortunately, is single-card. In it, you compete against another player by volleying Meteos back and forth. The first person to get overrun loses. Both the single-player and multiplayer modes provide endless hours of enjoyment.

Much like a lot of other DS games, Meteos primarily uses sprite graphics. Normally, I would complain about this, since we know the DS can present better, but a game like Meteos doesn't really need graphics. The only things you're ever looking at are little squares and the images of the species you are playing as. And, fortunately, the species animations actually look nice. They're not pushing pixels, but they have a unique, 2-D style (think Mr. Game and Watch), and they're constantly moving with the flow of action on the screen. The game also has a beautiful opening cutscene that almost makes up for any graphical shortcomings.
In short, this is a game that could've looked better, but at the same time didn't really need to. There's only so much detail you can put into a colored square.

Meteos is a clean, safe game. The origins of the planet Meteo and its horde of Meteos are never quite openly explored…but perhaps that sort of ambiguity is a good thing here. Additionally, the free play mode might make you feel a little sadistic, since you're essentially playing a game where the victor is the one who destroys the other's planet… But at the same time, it feels pretty cartoony, and it's hard to feel bad, especially since everyone appears to be all right at the end of it. Maybe I'm weird for even thinking that might be a content concern. But oh, well.


Meteos is one of the better games to come out on the Nintendo DS. It's not particularly innovative, but it takes you all the way back to when puzzle games were good, and it works hard to make the concept fresh again. It's a fun game that's great for multiplayer or for killing time on long trips. It's ultimately a game worth having that I thoroughly recommend you pick up.

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Year of Release — 2005

[tags] 4.5 stars, Puzzle, Nintendo DS, E (Everyone), Nintendo [/tags]


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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