The red-headed stepchild edition actually looks very good.
Disney hasn't given up on the Nintendo DS yet, releasing a game iteration of Pixar's latest feature film. Like many movie-to-game conversions, Brave is an action adventure game featuring combat, exploration, and magic. Brave stars Scottish princess Merida, and loosely follows the story of the movie, beginning when Merida's mother is turned into a bear by a spell. Merida must travel the lands in her quest to undo the spell.
The game appears to be pretty standard adventure fare where Merida must battle enemies and bosses and solve puzzles to unlock various areas. As in the movie, Merida is skilled in archery, which is used for running long range attacks, but she can also use her sword for short range attacks. Merida can jump, roll, and perform aerial attacks against a variety of monsters. There are a also variety of puzzles, including the classic block pushing type.
The bottom screen is used to change which element (air, water, earth, and fire) is applied to Merida's weapons. The four elements are collected over the course of the game and must be used at the right time to progress. Some puzzles also make use of the touch screen.
Though it's a little bit hard to get used to after playing 3DS games for the past year, Brave's 3D graphics are actually pretty impressive for the system. Aside from highly textured organic environments, there are extra touches like running water effects that are done quite well on the aging platform. The game plays similarly to the console version, though it was developed separately.
Brave appears to be a competent, if standard, movie adaptation, featuring a combat and exploration take on the Disney-Pixar film. As one of the last Nintendo DS games, Brave pushes the hardware graphically, which is a nice surprise.