E3 06: Monster Bomber Impressions

This puzzle game is like a cross between Bust-A-Move and Space Invaders.

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LOS ANGELES--Puzzle-game fans should take heart with the impending release of Monster Bomber for the Nintendo DS, which we got a look at during E3 2006 in Los Angeles. The game is something of a cross between Space Invaders and Bust-A-Move. On the top screen, you'll see monsters of varying colors floating around on-screen and making their way steadily down to a shield barrier at the bottom portion of the top screen. On the touch screen, you'll see a few colored wells corresponding to the colors of the monsters up top. The object of the game is to blow up the monsters with a corresponding colored ball from the bottom. To do this, you simply tap with the stylus in the well of your choice, which will generate a colored ball. You then use the stylus to fling the ball upward at the monsters on the top screen.

There's more to the strategy than just matching up the right color ball to the right monsters. If you hold the ball on the bottom screen before flinging, it builds up extra power, which can knock back the first monster that it contacts. Normally if you throw a ball of one color at a monster of a different color, the ball just evaporates and nothing happens. But if you charge up a ball, you can knock back a different-colored monster into others behind it. For example, let's say you take a yellow ball, charge it up, and fling it into a blue monster that is then driven back into a couple of yellow monsters. This will cause a chain reaction that blows up all the monsters involved in the collision, even those that aren't of the same color as the ball. Knocking out chains in this fashion will net you more points than simply blowing up monsters one at a time. It can also build up your rainbow meter at the bottom more quickly--when this is filled, you can shoot out multicolored balls for a limited amount of time, which will take out any monster.

Monster Bomber includes a regular survival mode, as well as a scenario mode, which will require you to do specific missions. These can include tasks such as killing a set number of monsters, having a limited number of shots to clear a level, or getting a certain number of chain explosions. On easy mode, there are only three colors to worry about, but the difficulty levels ramp up to medium and hard, which will involve four and five different colors of monsters, respectively. Four-player, single-cart multiplayer mode will be available, as well. Look for Monster Bomber to release on the DS later this year.

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