now that i’ve accepted having to buy digital games, this year i seem to be spending a lot of time playing DSiware. the latest game is trajectile, aka reflect missile, developed by Q-games (not to be confused with lumines developer Q entertainment). trajectile is similar to arkanoid-type games in that a lot of the gameplay is about bouncing an object (in this case a missile instead of a ball) to break bricks, but here the focus is on the puzzle aspect. you have only a limited number of missiles per board (7 sets for the green boards, 5 for blue, and 3 for red) to destroy a certain number of targets, and so the game plays out more like the puzzle mode of the puzzle bobble (aka bust-a-move) games.
it’s easy to see why the game has gotten good press. its gameplay is polished and its presentation is retro chic, as has become the norm for downloadable games, and there’s a large number of levels (230 to be exact) with good level design in general. although there are only three missile types, they have distinct abilities, and new variations to the boards, like a 2x item that doubles your missiles for a turn, are spaced throughout the game and keep things interesting. all of them are worthwhile, but the mechanic that is the most unique (which i won’t spoil here) and could almost sustain a whole game in and of itself appears in only the last two groups of stages.
despite all of my praise, however, the game just wasn’t all that compelling to me. aside from its completely unnecessary and awkward touch-screen controls, at its core the game is most like the angry birds games, which i rather hate, but with some distinct improvements: your shots are fairly easy to replicate, so unlike angry birds the focus is more often on the puzzle aspect of the game and requires more brainpower than dumb luck. but even though there’s far less blind trial and error, i still found myself getting easily bored whenever i was forced to experiment in order to get one shot to, for example, perfectly hit 4 targets in a row. the game’s structure emphasizes casual gameplay, esp. since the majority of the boards are green or blue (meaning you get 7 or 5 sets of missiles), so it’s not too hard to beat the stage. the red stages do provide a change of pace and require more precision since you’re only given 3 sets of missiles, and the game adds further challenges in the form of medals which you receive for beating a stage with at least one less than the provided number of turns. getting medals does make the game more difficult and thus more interesting, but the inherent casual feel overall left me able to only generally appreciate the game rather than truly enjoy it. still, i’m sure there are many out there who would and do love the game for what it is, and it’s certainly an improvement upon the angry birds-style games.