Today's entries are made up of puzzles, rhythm, and adventure.
#26 – Hotel Dusk
by Jared Rosenberg
While Cing created a slew of adventure titles on the Wii and DS, arguably there finest creation was the film-noir-ish Hotel Dusk. Set in 1979, players take on the role of Kyle Hyde, a former New York cop who is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his partner three years earlier. A one night stay at the seedy Hotel Dusk leads Kyle to discover a great mystery that unravels the secrets about his past.
To describe the game as an interactive novel would be an accurate statement. The different characters are represented by lightly animated hand-drawn sketches that help give the title a graphic novel feel. The well-written dialogue and engrossing plot bring the tiny hotel to life. While it features enough challenge and inventive touch screen puzzles to keep players on their toes, players will rarely get frustrated by having no clue where to go next. Hotel Dusk succeeds thanks to an outstanding storyline filled with realistic three-dimensional characters. It may also be worth playing because it is one of the few Nintendo-published games that has a bar that serves alcohol.
#25 - Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
by Andrew Brown
Professor Layton's second DS outing continues after the first game's storyline and features a plot about a cursed chest that apparently kills whomever opens it. After Layton's good friend and mentor Dr. Andrew Schrader is victimized by the creepy casket, he and Luke journey to the bizarre city where it was created to figure out the mystery behind it all.
Continuing the wacky character designs and brilliant puzzles that the first game was known for, the game also improved the Memo ability to write on the puzzles to help you remember clues and make calculations. The game downplayed the mathematics-based puzzles and matchstick pictures that were annoyingly abundant in the first game, and also featured connectivity with Curious Village, which unlocked new puzzles, artwork and features in both games. It nicely set the stage for the third and final game in the storyline trilogy, which became known in Japan as “season 1.” This was also the first game in the series to feature a physical puzzle outside of the DS cart – the manual contained a steam-engine train ticket with a hidden clue to solve a major puzzle a short way into the game.
#24 – Tetris DS
by J.P. Corbran
Continuing the tradition that started with the launch of the original Game Boy, Nintendo’s Tetris DS is one of the best iterations of the classic puzzle game in recent memory. In addition to standard Tetris, Tetris DS includes a variety of other modes that mix up the formula. Some of these modes work better than others, but they offer something new and interesting for longtime fans of the series.
To top off the already impressive package, Tetris DS integrates the style of Nintendo’s classic franchises into the game. Super Mario Bros. plays out on the top screen during the traditional Tetris mode, and the new modes feature elements of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and even Balloon Fight. Tetris DS shows that Tetris can be as great today as it was in 1989.
#23 - Rhythm Heaven
by Karlie Yeung
Rhythm Heaven is a sequel to the Japan-only Game Boy Advance title, Rhythm Tengoku. It keeps the distilled, rhythm gameplay of the original but transfers the controls from the buttons to taps and swipes of the touchscreen. Each mini-game links together patterns that are performed in time with the music with visual cues showing which comes next. The levels are outrageously quirky, with some kind of goal within the level such as taking part in a dance, assembling robots, taking photos of a slot car finish line, or exercising with birds.
The quest for perfection is a tough one. Make too many mistakes, and you won't unlock the next level. With so many levels and variations, there are bound to be some types that you find easier than others and it will take a long time to complete them all. If you wish to, the game allows you to skip a level after too many failed attempts. This doesn't prevent you from trying for a "Perfect" rating when the opportunity arises, where a single step out of time means you lose your chance. It's an addictive challenge.