Thorium Wars Review
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On 10/14/2009 at 03:00 PM by Neal Ronaghan
Sick of clocks and Sudoku? You might want to liven up your DSiWare collection with this shooter.
If you're looking to shoot up some faceless robots on the go, then you can't do much better than this solid DSiWare game.
Thorium Wars is a futuristic shooter that reminds me of Star Fox if you took out the anthropomorphic animals and stuck it through the generic science-fiction machine. The story takes a backseat for the most part, but it's centered on a future where robots and humans are warring, hence the "Wars" in the title. The gameplay is fun as the controls work well and you have many vehicle types to choose from, and the best part of it all: this sucker is basically a retail DS game in DSiWare clothing.
There are two control options, one that uses the touch screen and one that doesn't. The touch screen-based control scheme is awful and best left ignored. The button controls are intuitive and comfortable, although they could benefit from an analog stick. It's worth noting that the game throws you into the fire without a tutorial, but the controls are easy to pick up.
The game is level-based, and mission objectives have some variety, but it's more artificial as every level boils down to killing everyone on the screen. The vehicles are filled with variety, though, as each vehicle feels different from the others. When you're on water, it feels like you're driving a boat, but each water-based vehicle still retains a unique feel and control. . It's the same for the air and land-based ones, too.
The enemies are also in line with the vehicles as there are a good variety of them and they all behave differently. However, the recurring ball-like enemies continuously float around you like obnoxious flies until you kill them. That's a difficult task though, since they rarely stop moving. You also fight bosses from time to time, and they are usually bigger and badder versions of standard enemies. They require a bit of strategy and are generally intense affairs.
Thorium Wars gets difficult at times, but luckily there's a friendly checkpoint system that allows you to come back at full health after each section of a level. You can't save your place in the middle of a level, which is unfortunate because they can run upwards of 20 minutes a piece. There are a healthy amount of missions, and you could spend three to fours going through the campaign once, which is fantastic for a downloadable title. After you beat it, there's not too much to go back for besides some minor unlockables.
Graphically, Thorium Wars isn't a powerhouse, but it is a good-looking DS game. The sound, while a bit on the generic side, fits the setting well even though it is oftentimes overshadowed by the sound of gunfire.
Thorium Wars is a solid DSiWare game that brings something new to the young platform. While the $10 price tag looks a bit off-putting next to the rest of the DSiWare lineup, keep in mind that this is a lengthy single-player experience that has a good amount of variety, good controls, and solid graphics.