It's quite rare that a game is more frustrating than fun to play, but along comes Contact to enrage gamers

User Rating: 3 | Contact DS
RPG's usually have complex stories full of twists and turns but Contact's story is rather basic. A scientist simply known as Professor is flying through space until he is shot down by the CosmoNOTs, crashes on a planet, and loses his power cells in the process (that become inconveniently scattered around the world). He essentially forces a young boy named Terry to help him recover them so they both can return home. The only interesting thing about the game is that the Professor talks to the player directly, breaking the 'fourth wall'. Throughout the game, you see the Professor and his cat-like pet, Mochi walk around on the top screen, sometimes chipping in with hints and witty comments; but its use is fairly limited. In terms of game-play, RPG's can either be turn based, or more hack and slash. Although Contact is the latter, all skill has been removed since all you do is walk up to an enemy, press B to activate attack mode and wait. You could say its like the PC version of Baldur's Gate, although you aren't commanding a team of players with numerous skills and has a severe lack of strategy. You do have some skills that you can use but you can only stockpile 5 uses which are sometimes awarded when you kill an enemy. They aren't usually much more exciting then a quicker slash and a lot of them aren't effective either; often doing less damage than your normal attack or being wasted if your opponent attacks before Terry executes it. The battle system is geared towards one-on-one combat, so in the event that 2 enemies come to attack, you have to run and reposition yourself. Since your attacks are automatic, you do get the problem of your character sometimes refusing to attack but its not clear why, and when he does; the combat just feels far too slow. The levelling system is similar to Skyrim in the fact that you level up the skill that is being used. For example, running around increases speed, attacking with a sword improves slashing mastery, and being hit by wind magic increases wind defence. Surprisingly, most enemies are particularly strong, so you need to heal often, so make sure you spend large amounts of cash on potions. You can also eat food which heals health and gives you stat bonuses but these items have a digestion rate, so you can't use loads of these items within a five minute period. The cooking feature to acquire these items is extremely annoying. For a start, you need to change into the Chef's outfit in order to cook and then change your weapon to get a cooking bonus. You can only cook one item at a time, so if you have 8 pieces of meat, you will have to click through the menu 8 times and wait about 7 seconds for to get the results. The results can be success, fail or fail. You either waste your items and they disappear, or waste them and get useless carbon. On success, you gain cooking experience, but I cooked loads of items yet my cooking skill was still low, so I gave up. Shopping has a similar annoyance since shops are rare, not all shops sell potions, and you cannot bulk buy. So if you want 20 potions, you will have to travel far, and be bashing the buttons repeatedly to speed up the purchasing process. The design of the levels is poor. There are plenty of secret passage ways which is a good thing but sometimes the way you should be going is either hard to find or obscured which is just baffling game design. There are several costumes you can acquire throughout the game which give stat bonuses and change your skill set. Initially, they seem optional since they can be missed. However, you soon find a place where you need to stand on squares whilst wearing these costumes in order to open a door; so you have no choice but to pull up a walk-though and backtrack through previous areas in order to obtain them. You can only save at certain points and if you are killed, you are sent back to the Professor's ship rather than the save point, so you either have to backtrack through the area, or reset the DS in order to reload. Another design decision that I found irritating is that bath's that heal you are always placed next to the bed that saves your progress. So why not just have it heal you when you save? Especially since saving the game takes a lot longer than it should. It's quite rare that a game is more frustrating than fun to play, but along comes Contact to enrage gamers with it's poor design, weak story, terrible game-play and short length (10 hours; short for an RPG).