Nintendo had a number of games running on DSi XL handhelds at its World Summit in San Francisco today, including a previously unannounced shooter titled Metal Torrent. At first blush, Metal Torrent has the appearance of an incredibly challenging shooter: The enemies attack in great numbers, and they rarely waste time filling the DS's top screen with projectiles. Metal Torrent is different from most shooters of its ilk, though, because while avoiding enemy attacks is still recommended, failing to do so rarely results in instant death. That's because your ship has a lengthy health bar that lives on the bottom screen, and killing enemies and collecting the cubes that they drop replenishes that health.
We were able to play through the entire game in around 15 minutes with little trouble at today's Nintendo World Summit. In fairness, though, we had opted for the easiest of two available settings both times we were offered a choice. The first of those choices afforded us access to Pattern and Random modes of play. The former is a tightly scripted mode in which enemies attack in waves that, in time, you could undoubtedly memorize. The latter tosses out the script, throws enemies at you at random, and is purportedly much more challenging. The second choice involved our ship. The Accipiter ship has such a wide cone of fire that it's almost possible to shoot enemies at both edges of the screen simultaneously, and it also comes equipped with a smart bomb. The Bateleur, on the other hand, has a narrower (though still quite wide) cone of fire and has some sort of laser beam special weapon in place of the smart bomb. Regardless of which ship you choose, you can expect to keep your finger firmly on the fire button 99 percent of the time, especially if you want to earn high scores for chaining together kills.
At this point, you're probably thinking that Metal Torrent sounds too easy, but just reaching and destroying the final boss doesn't seem to be the point. We didn't have an opportunity to test it at today's event, but we're told that the game will feature online leaderboards and the option to upload replays of your best performances for other players to watch. Whether or not Metal Torrent's replay value will justify its asking price remains to be seen. All we know right now is that it's a decent-looking vertically scrolling shooter that's easy to pick up and play and that most of you will probably be able to beat on your daily commute. We look forward to bringing you more information on Metal Torrent as soon as it becomes available.