Since the classic Game Boy with its stellar release of Tetris, puzzle games and handhelds have gone hand-in-hand as a perfect pairing. When you need a quick, pick-up-and play title to pass the time, nothing beats a quick round of one of those incredibly addictive puzzle games. So with that in mind, it would appear that Meteos, the brainchild of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the man behind Space Chanel 5 and Rez would have been a multi-platinum hit on DS, especially as it stood uncontested when it hit the scene in 2005. Sadly this is not the case.
This is a crime.
I stand before you today and claim that Meteos is one of the finest puzzle games ever made for any platform. I know, that means I put it above Tetris Attacks, Dr. Mario, and even Tetris. I acknowledge those games as excellent titles, but they are just not quite Meteos.
You may be questioning my claim, thinking I give you baseless hyperbole in order to shame you for not buying the game. Ok, maybe I am just a little bit, but if you have played the original DS rendition or even the Disney remix of the title, I think you will understand where I’m coming from. Meteos, coming early in the DS life cycle, should have been the killer app for the system thanks to its polish, charm, and most importantly, gameplay– but it was overlooked.
Oh, not by the gaming press. Meteos currently has a Metacritic rating of 88, which includes 6 perfect ratings, and no ratings below an 80. When Nintendojo reviewed the game we gave it a 9.3. Reviewer Matt McDaniel even went so far as to say in his conclusion, “This game is one of the best puzzle titles on any Nintendo platform in years, and a strong factor in favor of purchasing a DS.” So surely this title would have gone on to good things and we’d be playing Meteos Attacks! by now, the award-winning 5th title in the series.
Sadly, the general public has apparently failed to take note of Meteos, if the numbers on VGChartz are to be believed. According to VGChartz, the game managed to sell 217,574 units in its lifetime. That’s it. What should have been a killer app for DS and sold millions sold a measly 200k. What could have caused such a meteoric oversight by the gaming public? This was a game that was jointly published by Nintendo and Bandai. Usually Nintendo-published games see at least a little success.
Maybe it was a lack of marketing. While I remember seeing plenty of advertising for Meteos’ brother, Lumines (released on PSP), I don’t have any solid memories of the commercials for Meteos. I think I remember some Web advertising at the time, but this could be my brain rolling together the advertising for the original and the Disney-fied followup. Maybe it’s because Meteos, while charming, lacked a solid mascot. There were no Nintendo characters to bolster the sales of the game, just quirky little aliens. But if this were the case, Meteos: Disney Magic should have sold much better than the original, something it most definitely did not accomplish. Maybe being a new IP was just too much for the game when it came out.
I don’t know why Meteos didn’t get the sales it deserved when it was unleashed on the world, but I implore you to give the title a go, if you have the chance. Purchasing the game now on the used market may not give the developers any money, but you owe it to yourself to at least give the game a try. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Q Entertainment will give the game another go on 3DS. I know I’d buy it in a heartbeat.