Meteos Wars Micro-Review: Make It Rain

Q Entertainment has given its Nintendo DS puzzler Meteos new life on Xbox Live Arcade with Meteos Wars. Why the "Wars" distinction? It's certainly no bloodier than the standard Meteos (or even Meteos Disney Magic.)

In fact, Meteos Wars doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the 2005 game it's based upon. The color-matching block puzzle mechanics are the same as they ever were, with little beyond a new, higher resolution graphical upgrade and new "Planet Impact" special attacks helping Meteos Wars stand out. Thankfully, there was little need for a change to the game's frenetic style, so we can't fault Q Entertainment for its rather rote remake.

Is Meteos worth revisiting on the Xbox 360? See what we loved and hated about the game in our micro-review.

Loved
Works Without The Touchscreen: The touchscreen controls of the Nintendo DS original obviously aren't going to work on the Xbox 360 and, fortunately, the transition to a standard control pad works just shy of splendidly. Navigate your pile of brightly colored blocks with the left stick, rearrange them vertically with the right stick (or X and A buttons). While it's not as quick or simple as using a stylus, it's serviceable — and you can adjust your cursor and block movement speeds to suit your tastes.

Great Presentation: Catchy, funky music on par with Q Entertainment's other soundtracks meets beautifully clean graphics and intuitive menus. Meteos Wars greatly benefits from more powerful hardware, giving the wee aliens from each planet a lovable style. A full suite of modes adds plenty of variety and the new accessories finally give players a chance to put a piece of meat on your character's head. Yeah, meat! On the head!

Hated
Multiplayer: Playing Meteos Wars against the CPU is a gas, but trying to find a competitor online is a struggle, let alone one who will provide a lag-free match. While it might be unfair to knock the game for its lack of an online community, be aware that you're not going to find much in the way of competition on Xbox Live. Local multiplayer works just fine, but it's limited to two players, down from the four supported by the Nintendo DS version. The new Planet Impact techniques used in head-to-head games, while they add a new layer of strategy, annoyingly interrupt your gaming flow in order to show off a superfluous animation.

Meteos Wars does right by the original, making a mostly smooth transition to the Xbox 360, keeping the original solid gameplay intact. Where it fails is in its disappointing Xbox Live multiplayer support, largely due to its barren online community and lag-prone matchmaking. If single-player and local multiplayer Meteos is all you're after, Wars does that just fine.

Meteos Wars was developed and published by Q Entertainment, released on Dec. 10 for Xbox Live Arcade. Retails for 800 Microsoft Points ($10 USD). Played all modes, online and offline.

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