DS

North America

Galactic Taz Ball

by Neal Ronaghan - September 18, 2010, 2:14 pm PDT
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Flattery will get you nowhere.

Galactic Taz Ball is a weird game. The WayForward-developed game is split into two distinct sections. The overworld parts involve using a track ball on the touch screen to maneuver Warner Bros.' Tasmanian devil through different platforming sections, while the underworld portions have more in common with the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series or WayForward's recent Despicable Me DS game as you control a blindfolded Taz through conveyor belts and obstacles. The combination of these two gameplay styles works, though, and Galactic Taz Ball is an interesting experiment that feels like the best Taz game ever made.

The game is broken up into five different worlds that each feature five levels and a boss fight. Each of the levels is broken up into five segments that alternate play styles, beginning with an overworld level. These levels are shown from an isometric perspective as you roll Taz around with a track ball on the touch screen. When you have Taz moving fast enough, indicated by a meter on the bottom screen, he'll turn into a tornado, which helps him mow down most enemies. The track ball can be tiring since you have to repeatedly flick the stylus across it on the touch screen, but the overworld sections are usually short enough so it doesn't become a huge issue.

The trick of these levels is to move Taz from platform to platform by using obstacles to launch him into the air or treading precariously on small paths. Early on, these levels are wide open, making it easier to move Taz around, but by the end of the game, it's a challenge to keep Taz from falling into the empty space below.

Luckily, there is something of a Super Guide in this game that will let you skip to the next checkpoint at the expense of a life after you fail three times. There is no route tutorial, but it is nice to have the ability to skip over a troublesome segment. Since the checkpoints are close together, you can usually just skip just the area that was giving you trouble. Also, lives are pretty easy to come by, so there isn't much of a fear of being stuck at a section without a life available to skip it.

The underworld segments feature a tight side-scrolling view of Taz as you have to maneuver the blindfolded animal past spikes and damaging beams to the exit. You can make Taz move in a direction by tapping him on the touch screen, and you can also interact with the conveyor belts and more to move Taz more precisely. The camera is oftentimes too tight on Taz, as you can't really see what's ahead of him or where the exit is. These quick levels aren't a large part of the game, but they do offer a nice respite from the overworld levels.

The boss fights are fun, as you control Taz in the overworld style to fend off Marvin the Martian's large robots. Unfortunately, they are a little bit too long and become repetitive as you work your through them.

Galactic Taz Ball is presented in a nice, cartoony 3D style. It runs smoothly and looks shockingly good for the DS. The game is very well animated throughout, though the overworld presentation is pulled back too far to see the graphics in good detail.

In each level, there are five golden kiwis to find spread across each of the five segments. If you get them all, you unlock artwork. If you miss a golden kiwi while you go through a level, the only way to go back to the segment where you missed it is by replaying the whole level, which makes going back to get them after you beat a level a chore.

Galactic Taz Ball presents an interesting concept for a game that doesn't quite hold up for the whole experience. If you're a fan of WayForward or Looney Tunes, than I recommend you check this game out. If not, you're not missing too much.

Summary

Pros
  • Good use of a trackball
  • Great cartoony 3D graphics
  • Interesting concept
Cons
  • Gameplay wears thin
  • The camera in the underworld segments makes it difficult to see where you're going

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Genre Adventure
Developer WayForward Technologies
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Galactic Taz Ball
Release Q3 2010
PublisherWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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