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XG Blast is a fun looking classic shooter game for the DS. I haven't played many shooter games before so I'm relatively new to them as a player. I have seen a few examples of older shooter games, and this one takes a lot of style tips from retro arcades - it looks and feels like an old game, but the gameplay is right up to date, using the DS's touch screen as well as all the buttons.
My first mistake was in trying to play the game straight away before reading the instructions properly - but I'm left handed! So when I tried to use the stylus in my left hand and control the ship at the same time I got a bit stuck. Back to the options screen and my difficulties were quickly sorted out, thank goodness!
The storyline is fairly incidental, of course all you need to do in each arena is to defeat all the aliens by shooting them, then you can progress to the next arena. If you touch an enemy you lose energy, and if you're careless enough to lose all your energy then your whole ship will be lost.
It looks and feels like an old game, but the gameplay is right up to date.
There are various bonuses and shields available to collect in the levels so it is worth reading the instructions to find out which is which and how to activate them - another mistake of mine! I imagine that a seasoned player of this sort of game would find the controls intuitive, but I had to work hard to get the hang of it, and I frequently ran out of energy before defeating a boss. You do have to watch that your stylus doesn't get in the way, though - a couple of times I only spotted enemies at the last minute as they'd been hiding behind the stylus!
As you progress through the story mode, new battle arenas are unlocked - they only differ in shape and the type of enemy you encounter, though, gameplay is all the same. If you don't want to play through the story mode you can practice by playing Survival Mode in each arena.
I wasn't able to test the multi-player mode as it needs multiple game cartridges, this is a shame and I feel it lets the game down. In my opinion, it would have been better to have a download play version.
Still, apart from that, if you're after a good shooter game for the DS then I'm sure you will enjoy XG Blast.
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