Well, I've gotten a few more Nintendo DS games since my last roundup. Here's what I've been playing (and not playing) over the last few months.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - Mmm, Zelda. This is a very fun game that truly uses the stylus and touch screen to its best capacity. Drawing on the map and making teeny notations is fun, and besides...it's Zelda! ZELDA! Hack-and-slash, baby! Rupees galore! The storyline is connected to the Gamecube game Windwaker, but I never played that one. No matter, really. There's lots to do, such as sailing, deep sea diving, and constructing one kickass boat, among other things. It can be quite challenging at times though, especially when it asks our young protagonist to be sneaky rather than stabby. Haven't got to play the multiplayer WiFi mini-game, but it looks tough. I'd rather slice at grass and buy bombchus, you know?
Flash Focus - There's a whole slew of these "training" games for the Nintendo DS, and from what I've seen they are more or less the same game. This one splits the daily tasks between sports and miscellaneous goals. Personally, I don't turn this on every day and train my brain like they'd like me to. I have my favorites--volleyball, soccer, box tap, boxing--and that's about it. Each time you play you up your stamp count, which eventually opens up more things in the game. There isn't a whole lot here, but for the price and the time it takes to do what one wants to do within it works out just fine. However, I absolutely hate ping pong on the Harder difficulty. It's enough to make me want to jump out my window.
Sim City DS - Okay, yet another impulse buy. Unlike Animal Crossing: Wild World, this one didn't turn out to surprise me in the end. I used to love playing Sim City on my SNES and part of me was hoping to relive those nostalgic moments. But it didn't happen. And won't any time soon. For one thing, the screen is way too small when it comes to mass planning a city. You can only zoom in once, and even then it is very difficult to see what is what and what is where. Just not what I thought/hoped it was going to be, unfortunately...
Drawn to Life - A very standard and linear 2D platformer that offers the unique ability of allowing the player to draw and create many pieces within the game itself. You can create the main character, the gun-like weapon he or she will carry, the clouds, flowers, submarines, rockets, and so on and so on. You are the Creator, an artistic god to the Raposa, a very anime-ish race of people that ask for your help in repopulating their village. And that's basically it. You go level to level, drawing things, jumping on enemies, searching for some items, and then back to see the mayor and learn about the next mission. I'm only halfway done with the game, but the fun, at least for me, and I suspect the reason most people bought the game, is drawing via the stylus. It doesn't make a subpar platformer brilliant, but it does help it shine a bit. The visuals are decent, the music is good, and seeing something you've created implemented (no matter how lightly) in a videogame is a whole lot of fun.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village - My latest purchase. Half a mystery adventure game and half a bottomless pit of puzzles, Curious Village is remarkably well done. The puzzles, the real meat of the game, range from super easy (almost downright silly) to oh-my-goodness-I-need-to-be-mauled-by-rhinos-I'm-so-dumb ones. Yup, they really test one's thinking. I've only gotten up to Chapter Four, which means I've found about 50 puzzles and have solved maybe 35-40 or so. There are a couple of other tasks to do in the game to keep things interesting, but really it is just puzzle after puzzle after puzzle. I suspect, by the end of it all, I'll be sick of the people in the village much like this. Still, the art style, animation, and voice work is all phenomenal, a real triumph for the system. Sometimes that's all that is stopping me from hurling the game against a wall in frustration simply because I can't figure out how to move ten quarts of orange juice into two other beakers so that they all have a specific amount and whatnot. Ugh! Good and frustrating, indeed!
So, there you have it. See you again in a few months? I can't stop buying DS games. They are too much fun.