Snood 2: On Vacation will go down in history as Least Creative Use of Second Nintendo DS Screen. Regardless on what's going on in the main action, the only idea the developers managed to implement for the secondary Nintendo DS screen is a touch-screen pause function. That, right there, is a great indication of how much effort went into this Bust-a-Move clone. At the very least, you're going to get what you pay
ten bucks worth of gaming. And ten bucks doesn't exactly buy you a whole lot of quality in this market.
The original Snood is a shareware-developed PC franchise that rips off Bust-a-Move wholesale. The game owes nearly its entire design to Taito's puzzle-slash-action game, and much of Snood's fun is entirely derived from something that the game isn't even responsible for. That game hit the Game Boy Advance a few years back in a passable but still very "slapped together" portable rendition, and now the sequel has come to surface from the same publisher. But even when portable standards have evolved, this game has not. It's without a doubt currently the laziest and ugliest Nintendo DS game developed.
The game is extremely similar to the original Snood, which is, essentially identical to Bust-a-Move: connect three or more like pieces together by shooting them from a cannon. When they link, they disappear...and any pieces hanging on for dear life will fall out of play. The task is to empty the "bin" of pieces from the game's round before they cross the foul line at the bottom of the screen. There are a few variations of the main design, but they all revolve around the same game design idea. The engine is a little more forgiving than Bust-a-Move is, so players can get into the gaps more frequently. The "forgiveness" unfortunately makes the other pieces less sticky, so there will be many times when pieces will zip through others and stick somewhere else. It's just part of the Snood design, I guess.
To be fair, the Nintendo DS developers didn't really have a very creative game to work with right from the start. And the assets created for Snood are some of the nastiest sprites ever designed - it's amazing that the company that owns the original property is actually making any money selling these horrid and nasty smiley faces on mousepads and coffee mugs. These "faces" are the Snood trademark, probably slapped together quickly since the team, in their gall to steal Bust-a-Move, couldn't just use basic colored balls since that's what Bust-a-Move relies on. So the player now has to match some nasty pixelated faces with each other, and when these guys cluster together it gets pretty hurtful trying to sift through the mess with the eyes.
So, much of what Snood is can't really be blamed on the DS team that brought the game to the system. However, the fact that the Nintendo DS developers didn't even try to pretty-up or advance the game on the dual-screen handheld is unforgivable. So is the fact that this version, outside of a secondary analog control option, doesn't even take advantage of the Nintendo DS platform. All the action takes place on the upper screen, with the lower screen's real estate simply relegated to the single question: "Pause?" It's even more laughable when you take advantage of the secondary touch-screen control option - the action shifts to the lower screen, with, guess what? "Pause?" moving to the screen up above. The same screen that's not even touch sensitive. Wow.
And the fact that this game, with its horribly basic imagery, requires two copies of the game to compete against each other on different systems, just adds insult to injury. You're telling me that you couldn't fit this game in the four megabytes of system RAM? Please. We'll take a wild guess that single cartridge was yanked in favor of potentially selling a few more copies of the game for those who might want to battle.
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