Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans on the DS offers the same heavy branding as the Wii version, that much was expected. Less anticipated though is the transformation the game makes with the addition of the DS's tactile stylus controls. Like with Peggle Dual Shot DS, the DS again proves its strength in these minigames.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans is unique not only because of it's franchise, but also as it adds a fresh spin on the firing balls into a play field genre. Sitting in amongst the Peggle, Pinball and Pachinko games it edges more towards the skilled end of the spectrum than other simpler experiences. Not only do you have to aim carefully to collect the right tokens, but you also need to keep an eye on sucking the recently eject bean back into your holster. Add to this the careful use of the different coloured beans, and various bonus achievements to go for and there is more here than first appears.
To play, the player simply aims the Peggle cannon up the table using either the D-pad or stylus and releases or presses a button to fire. Power is controlled by the length of press, or distance from the cannon that the stylus is when released. The control of both releasing and collect beans via the stylus takes a little while to get used to, but once it clicks the game really starts to flow.
Things then progress through a levels that slowly ramp up the difficulty. Various challenges can be tackles to give each a fare amount of replay value. Beantastic is the most open mode, tasking players with completing the level as best they can. Collect asks them to hit collect certain beans whilst Clear gets them to hit every available target. Battling offers a turn taking two player mode. Finally Grand Master ups the ante for an expert challenge.
Younger players will like the brightly coloured Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans theme. Those that would have struggled with the Wii's controls will find things a lot easier here. In our household, the younger members soon opted for the DS game over the Wii as they could take this to their rooms to practice their aiming.
While the complexity of Peggle Dual Shots DS can be intimidating for novice or young players, the simple delights of Jelly Belly Ballistic Beans keeps the barrier to entry a lot lower.
Each table needs to be played to completion before its score is registered. Although early challenges are simple and short, later levels can last longer - particularly so as players get more proficient with the cannon firing and collection.
As we said, younger and novice players will appreciate the stylus or button options. Being able to touch the screen does away with the need for an onscreen targeting guide and again gives this the edge over the Wii game.
Although this type of game often seen on the PC, its presence on the DS makes it a much more social experience that can be had in the lounge rather than the office. Experts will no doubt balk at the gimmicky nature and early simplicity but, as often is the case, perseverance reveals much challenging Pachinko style fun.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: