Review Big Bang Mini on the Nintendo DS pack shot

Review Big Bang Mini on the Nintendo DS pack shotFireworks. Everyone loves them (when they’re not being fired directly at your face by The Youth Of Today, at least). The combination of pretty colours and large explosions makes us wonder why there aren’t more games based around the ol’ skyblossoms – the only one we can think of is PS2 launch game Fantavision. But fret not, for here comes Big Bang Mini to add a little more colour to your Nintendo DS’s life.

A resolutely old-school shooter, BBM casts you as a little blob thing (it changes from world to world) that can be moved about with the stylus. The top screen is filled with odd enemies shooting merrily away at you, so you’ve got to dodge the shots. Then swiping upwards on the screen launches a firework, which hopefully collides with an enemy and causes them to explode, dropping a star. Collect the star with your blob thing and a bar fills a little bit. Fill the bar to the top and the level’s complete. But if your firework misses, it explodes and showers down debris which becomes an extra thing to dodge. Every world – of which there are nine, each consisting of nine levels and one boss level, resulting in a meaty 91 levels when you add on the final boss – gives you an extra skill, be it a bullet-swallowing vortex or homing missiles, which may just be for that world or a permanent upgrade.

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Got all that? Don’t worry – it sounds confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it in about 20 minutes (though it may take a little longer to learn how to aim the fireworks properly, but that could just be on account of your reviewer being a wrong-handed lefty). There are extra environmental hazards in every world, such as strong winds that affect your fireworks, to stop it getting all a bit repetitive, and extra Challenge and Mission modes to unlock, too. There’s also a single-cart multiplayer, which is always good news.

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As the screenshots show, this is by far one of the prettiest games on the DS, and quite possibly the most colourful we’ve played since Dynamite Headdy on the Sega MegaDrive. (Wii owners, get on Virtual Console now if you’ve never had the pleasure.) The music – an upbeat, bouncy electronica/techno splice that brings Lemon Jelly to mind – is good, but the same tune for all nine levels in a world means it gets a bit boring. The sixth to ninth levels are only unlocked after you beat the first group, so it would have been nice if the tune had been remixed for them.

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But when your single biggest complaint is some repetitive music, you know you’re on to a winner. BBM never pretends to be anything other than simple shooting fun, and its slick use of the touch screen and top-notch presentation means that it offers that in spades. Plus, it’s at a budget £20 price. Lovely.

VERDICT: 8/10

 

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