Video Game Retrospective – Meteos

Aside from the Nintendo 3DS, handheld games are almost synonymous with mobile devices. However, gamers who have the incredible time playing with a Nintendo DS had the opportunity to play one of the biggest surprises in puzzle gaming: Meteos. Here’s the introduction for this amazing title.

This puzzle game features a simple but unique story, innovative game mechanics, beautiful design, and a usefulness for every action in the game. The premise is that a sentient planet is launching meteors at other planets, destroying them on impact. One fortunate planet survives the onslaught when three meteors collide together, sending them upward. Discovering this newfound phenomenon, other planets hear the discovery and fuse meteors together, sending the oncoming asteroids back into space and use this innovation to fight back against the sentient planet.

This translates to what you do in-game. Matches are against opposing planets and you play to launch your meteors to the opposing planet. You are given the touch screen of the Nintendo DS to do all the work . You are given colored tiles to start and more come as the game goes on; with your movement limited to sliding meteors vertically, you make sets of meteors and they fly back into space. These launching meteors carry everything on top of them but also may run out of fuel on their way up, so you must launch more meteors midair. It seems simple, and takes cues from Bejeweled and Tetris, but once you start playing, the action and multiple elements to keep track of make this one incredibly distinct. Check out a clip of some gameplay from the single player campaign below.

As you watch the video, you notice the music changes depending on how well you’re doing and what combinations of meteos you’ve been able to assemble. The characters dance as you succeed and worry as you fail. What is exciting is that the campaign leads to unlocked planets that you can assign as your home. As you play through the campaign, you realize each planet has its own gravity, frequency of dropping different elements (colored tiles), symbols, and music. Each tile represents an element in the galaxy and as you send them up into space, you earn points for sending them. You can use these points to buy tools to help your game, new planets, music, and more! There’s no DLC shortcuts, so you learn to play through each planet, mastering new levels of difficulty and working through the unfamiliar. There’s always a clock ticking, a challenger approaching, and multiple things that go through your mind as you simply move tiles. The game also features challenge modes and multiplayer play, but sadly no online, which is the biggest heartbreak considering the Nintendo DS online system was to go up a few months after the game released.

I’ve loved Meteos since I first saw the game and place it above Tetris, Puzzle Quest, and many popular puzzlers because of how engaging, colorful, and deep this game is. If you find it at a local gamestop or online, scoop it up. I hope Nintendo will rerelease it through the eShop so that people will find the game, now 10 years old, that changed my outlook on giving new genres a try.

Were you fortunate enough to try out this game when it dropped in 05? Let us know your experiences with Meteos in the comments below, or via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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