IGN Review of Classic Action Devilish
For those who might've jumped on the Nintendo DS system a little later in its handheld career, there was a time in late 2004 when developers really didn't know what to do with the dual-screen portable. The whole platform was a big question mark, and game makers weren't sure how to approach the system. There were several games released in Japan during the Nintendo DS' launch that "played it safe" and didn't really attempt anything original or innovative. Devilish is one such game. All Devilish sets out to be is a port of a rather mediocre (but somehow memorable) Genesis/Game Gear title, but this time using two screens as one. It was a bad game when it was released in Japan in 2004, and in 2007, released as a "new" Nintendo DS game in the US it comes off even worse than that.
Devilish is, essentially, Breakout with a theme. Sort of. The idea is to keep a "magic ball" in play to smash into structures and bad guys, picking up power-ups to strengthen the paddle that players control or bulk up the balls. As the ball or balls bounce around the forced-scrolling environment, evil enemies wander into the area to get in the way and alter the trajectory of the ball. On occasion the course will go from vertical to horizontal layouts, so players will have to adjust the paddle and rotate it so they can hit it in the necessary direction.
Here's the problem: the Breakout design began as an analog-style controlling game with potentiometer knobs so players can subtly adjust the movement in relation to the hand. For this Breakout game, it's all digital, on/off D-pad controlled, meaning very rigid and very un-fun mechanics. The original game design more than a decade ago had the same controls, and Devilish on the DS is just mimicking that design. One could argue that this is the reason why the DS developer didn't use the much more versatile touch screen to provide the control -- of course, you still have to move the paddle up to the top screen, so the touch screen controls wouldn't work well this way anyway. But sticking to rigid and stiff controls definitely kills this game's fun potential. It's also very, very, boring.
And then there's the whole "looking like absolute crap" thing -- the game has the appearance of a Sega Genesis title. Perhaps if we held Devilish dear to our nostalgia-filled hearts we could accept this, but unfortunately the game isn't anywhere near "classic" in our eyes. True to the original game, yes...but it's not keeping up with the DS standards. All 2D, and really bad 2D, too -- poor tiling, bad character sprites, and slowdown galore when the screen gets more than a couple enemies wandering across it.
No multiplayer, no different game modes -- nothing here to give players any sense of variety other than three difficulty levels. Devilish drags on and on, so it's a good thing progress is saved to cartridge. It's hard to stand more than a few minutes session with this DS game.
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