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DSiWare: Art Style: PiCTOBiTS Review Package Art
skip Ltd.

DSiWare: Art Style: PiCTOBiTS Review

Nintendo knows how to rekindle gamersí favorite memories with its titles. Whether itís the ridiculous fan service in the Super Smash Bros. franchise or a small Easter egg of Mario in a title like Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, the Big N knows how to tug on the hearts of gamers. But with Art Style: PiCTOBiTS, the company has possibly outdone even itself.

The game appears as just another puzzler from skip Ltd., which also developed the excellent launch DSiWare game Art Style: AQUIA. Similar to Tetris, blocks fall from the top of the lower screen. But a three-layered row of multicolored bits also sits waiting for players at the onset, which must be picked up via the stylus and distributed along the paths of the falling blocks. Four-bit squares and lines create matches -- though bigger combos can be acquired -- which then shoot the specified color to the top screen.

The upper display then showcases the appreciated overabundance of Nintendo love. The colors distribute accordingly to develop a classic 8-bit sprite, like Link or Mario. If not enough, the classic tunes charmingly beep in the background, with a few caution sounds dispersed. It may sound a bit hectic, and there is a rather complex tutorial and a bit of a learning curve, but itís worth the work in the end. After a bit, picking up pieces and reconstructing the retro characters comes naturally. This mechanic perfectly embodies the DS experience, utilizing the top screens in a fashionable way and proffering precision controls. It must be said, though, that the focus on such small pixels can be problematic from time to time.

The puzzles also present a sizable challenge, but in a better way. Some falling blocks actually consume more than half of the screen in later stages, daring players to memorize and plan multiple moves at once. Strategy is key and it actually presents another wrinkle to the core mechanic.

Pictobits ScreenshotPictobits Screenshot

A HUD allows gamers to store up to eight pixel pieces, instead of having to pick up each one constantly. But, these storage slots may be blocked. If the lower screen becomes consumed by pixels, a smart POW button knocks everything down a notch but also removes a safety pixel spot. It may prove too daunting to some, while others eat up the extra level of complexity. And thereís plenty to digest, as the game packs 15 normal levels and 15 dark levels, which bust the difficulty up a notch more.

Though thereís more than just mere stages to entertain the users. Thanks to a beautifully integrated coin system -- Mario coins, no less -- players can also unlock more than just the next stage. Each levelís musical track waits to be unlocked, and then can even be repurchased to obtain the ď+Ē version. The enhanced tune presents a rearrangement of the classic track, with YMCK presenting mesmerizing and hypnotic remixes to all of your Nintendo favorites. Hearing The Legend of Zelda theme slowly transform into a quicker, techno-like trance is delightfully haunting. Cold goosebumps will ensue.

Even better, the jams can be enjoyed even with DSi shut. Thereís no doubt that the fifteen-plus newly constructed songs basically justify the price of purchase, offering a pulsating yet classic Nintendo soundtrack.

Art Style: PiCTOBiTS finds a way to stand on its own, while paying homage to Nintendoís past. Classic Mario and Link make memorable appearances, and the core mechanic intelligently harnesses both screens and the stylus, even though there are a few hiccups. Other than that, this game demonstrates the possibilities for DSiWare and stands as one of the best titles on the service. For $5, not only do you get a charming Nintendo soundtrack, but also a smart and tricky puzzling package.

final score 9.0/10

Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight ó they sing!"

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