It’s not often that the term ‘mildly distracting’ is used as a compliment, yet with Globulos Party this is a phrase that feels perfectly fitting as a term of endearment rather than a criticism; developer Globz have delivered a title that, while unlikely to foster rabid addiction, is nevertheless breezily and gently engaging, wrapped up in crisp and colourful visuals. Though it may be a little flawed, its chirpy demeanour does an admirable job in papering over the cracks.
Beginning life as a free to play Flash title, Globulos Party lends itself well to a low-price release on Nintendo DSiWare. In terms of content, it is impressively well stocked for a 500 point title, featuring 20 game modes, multiple arenas, multiplayer modes (supporting two player on one DS, download play and wireless head to heads) and a raft of characters to collect. It’s also extremely easy to pick up and play. Unfortunately there is a question mark over how much mileage the simple mechanics can deliver.
The game’s core mechanic is a simple one – use your stylus to fling loveable blobs (known as ‘Globs’) around a variety of arenas; select your Globs one by one and set their direction and speed, tap ‘Go’ and off the little fellas trundle. Each game has specific goals, but as a general rule you must use your Globs to shunt balls or opposing Globs around the playing field; it is one part snooker, one part air-hockey, one part video-game.
While the 20 game types available certainly explore a wide range of permutations, it is hard to shake the feeling that the central mechanics could have been fleshed out a little more, with many of the game modes presented feeling a tad flabby and unfocussed. Take the Globs version of football for example – two teams start off at either end of the pitch, with the football in the middle; you plan your first move and unleash your team, sending them charging towards the centre spot. The game that follows is chaotic, with little room for tactics; like a primary school football team, you find yourself merely chasing the ball around the pitch in the hope that an opportunity to knock the ball into the goal will present itself. The same can be said with the other sport themed games, though the larger target presented by the goal line in rugby proves to me more suitable to the games mechanics.
In fact, Globulos Party is at its strongest when presenting broader arenas that better accommodate the gleeful bounce of the Globs. Shunting your King Glob around the grid to lay down your 0 or X in noughts-and-crosses works very well, as does ‘Monster’ in which you must avoid an iron-clad killer Glob. While none of the games move that far beyond knock-about fun (there is little here to please those looking for a game of brain-stretching precision) some work much better than others.
The AI against which you are pitted in the single player offers a reasonable challenge (with all game modes presenting increasing difficulty levels), but the game really comes to life when setting your team of Globs against a human opponent as you both try and bump and jostle your Globs into position to knock home a winning move. It’s by no means chess, but as a light-hearted time-filler, it is something of a success.
One area in which Globulos Party excels is in its presentation – from the menu screen onwards it is a remarkably polished package, effortlessly standing shoulder to shoulder with full-priced retail titles. The Globs themselves are also wonderfully charismatic, imbued with a hint of Locoroco and a smattering of Pokemon (you may very well want to catch them all!) – they smile, grimace, squeak and wobble their way into your heart. The package as a whole is colourful, lively and perfectly suited to the DS’s family friendly reputation.
Nintendo’s DSiWare is still very much in the process of finding its feet with users who have stumped up the cash for some points facing a pretty mixed bag of titles to choose from, with few achieving ‘must have’ status. While Globulos Party has its problems, it is a commendable effort and a good yard-stick of what the service can and should offer in terms of production quality. It may struggle to satiate the hunger of the solo gamer, but the multiplayer offers enough content and variety to make it a title well worth dipping into; and for 500 points, that’s not a bad deal at all.
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