Prey the Stars Updated Hands-On

We bite, suck, and lick our way to victory with Koei's upcoming game.

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Our first look at Prey the Stars was at the Tokyo Game Show last year when we got to chomp on anything that got in our way. At Koei's press event in San Francisco, we were able to get some more playtime and devour items with a purpose. Prey the Stars is a bizarre little game that provides a great multiplayer experience on the Nintendo DS because each stage is set up with three opponents and the goal is to outeat each other.

There are four odd-looking creatures to choose from, and the first stage begins in a refrigerator. You want to eat the smaller items first, and as you get bigger, you can go after the bigger snacks, such as a television. You're trying to score the most points before the time runs out or until the items are gone, but while you're eating, you need to make sure your opponents aren't getting their mouths on the best stuff. By eating power-up items, you will fill your stomach gauge, which is located at the bottom left of your top screen. When your gauge is full, you will become larger, which will then allow you to eat bigger items for more points. Icons will appear in the top-left corner to indicate which items you need to eat to get a special ability. Special abilities are incredibly handy because you can use them (by pressing the R button) to shock opponents off the stage entirely or stun opponents long enough to eat whatever they were going after. Otherwise, you can always use the A button to attack the competition.

Gabu likes building. Mmm… tasty!
Gabu likes building. Mmm… tasty!

It also takes a small amount of skill to eat; you can't just plow through the items and expect them to go down smoothly. You have the option of using the A button to bite, the X button to lick, and the Y button to suck. When you're biting or licking, a meter will show up and you have to wait until it hits the green zone before pressing the respective button again. You can also spit something out by pressing the B button. There are three levels of difficulty, and the timing will get harder when you bump it up. The reason for the options is some items won't get consumed if you're biting on them. Because the game is relatively fast-paced, knowing what kind of object you're up against will save you time. We didn't come across anything to suck, but apparently there are spirits within some objects that will earn you extra points.

There are 12 stages total, and you'll move on to bigger or more outrageous objects to chew on with each stage. You'll get to rampage through cities, shopping malls, and a mineshaft. Eventually, you'll make your way into a galaxy stage where you're eating entire planets. There is a story behind all this craziness, and it's told in segments between the stages.

There are also skins to unlock where your doglike creature might have a strawberry or soccer print on it that grants it unique abilities. These are unlocked by clearing some of the harder stages or by clearing the stages in Story mode.

Prey the Stars supports Nintendo Wi-Fi, and up to four players can feast on delectable appliances. The goofy character designs are part of the game's charm, and it seems like a fun multiplayer experience for any audience. Just think of it as four-player Pac-man on steroids. Check back for more coverage when the game ships on October 7.

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