A delightful yet challenging 2-D shooter for the DS, Big Bang Mini offers hours of pyrotechnic fun in easy pick up and play form. The premise is simple; blast your enemies away by launching colourful fireworks at them while keeping your ship out of harm’s way. Make sure you have a comfortable stylus and are in your best gaming position as you get ready to be immersed in the crazy fun that is Big Bang Mini.
Your stylus is your all-purpose weapon. In the beginning you’ll be launching your explosives with a quick flick of the stylus upwards on the screen, either straight or angled, as you try to get the best shot possible towards your target. You’ll also be dragging your ship to safety from wave after wave of enemy attacks, floating debris, and the fallout from any of your failed attacks. There are permanent weapons boosts such as homing missiles and world upgrades like Luxor’s mirror shield to help you defeat the enemy, but learning when to use these power ups is important as some of them require charging time. And don’t forget that you’ll also need to fly your ship around enemy fire in order to collect the Stars to fill your progress meter.
It’s easy to get distracted and manage to have your ship blown up. I’ll frequently find myself completely engrossed with the eye-poppingly vibrant enemies attacking me from the top screen. From giant spiders to squiggly-line snakes, shrunken heads and dancing skeletons, you are literally bombarded with screen after screen of wonderfully designed opponents. And when you aren’t staring at them, you might also find yourself bopping your head to the accompanying musical tracks.
Big Bang Mini offers 90 levels of game play over 9 different locations, each level boasting catchy music and unique challenges. While the levels can be completed within a few minutes, the game is kept fresh with increasing level of difficulty each step higher, whether that be new obstacles on screen, the various world-only and permanent upgrades to your ship or just the fact that you are so intensely focused that you forget about moving your ship out of harm’s way. The first 9 levels of each World have optional bonus “pictures” for you to reveal, while the final level is the Boss Battle.
In addition to Arcade mode, you can unlock new modes to either relax or pursue more of a challenge. By successfully completing all of the bonus pictures in Arcade mode you can unlock Relax mode, allowing you to just have fun setting off fireworks in the World of your choosing. Finishing Arcade mode gives you access to Mission mode, giving you set challenges to defeat, and thus allowing you to unlock one final secret of the game.
Big Bang Mini also offers single card download play in Versus mode. Battling it out against your friends to see who has the best strategy as you manage your use of limited power ups and return fire back at your opponent is also a great bonus to the game. This is a great feature for parents who don’t necessarily want to buy two copies of the game and allows for siblings to play together.
Overall Opinion: Big Bang Mini is now my favourite casual game on the DS, beating out Meteos which had me addicted for months. I love that I can sit down and play a couple levels at a time, however it seems I’m always telling myself “just one more level” or “one more try”. Any parent looking for a game that can be shared amongst siblings and will offer loads of playtime will love this title. So will hardcore gamers who have enjoyed other games, such as the classic Space Invaders. At $19.99 you are getting more than your money’s worth, and a cool lenticular on the box as well!
(Reviewed for GamingAngels – July 11, 2009)