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DS  header logo

101-in-1 Explosive Megamix

For: DS

No damp squib

Product: 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix | Publisher: Nordcurrent | Format: DS | Genre: Casual, Party/ mini- games | Players: 1-2 | Version: Europe
101-in-1 Explosive Megamix DS, thumbnail 1
Handheld mini-games collections are like locusts. As soon as they were introduced to the environment, they spread like a biblical plague, wreaking havoc on all other forms of life.

Although the initial reaction may have been to run around screaming, chanting in tongues, broom aloft, the settlers of portable gaming history eventually learnt they made a pretty good snack when cooked with garlic and coriander.

So if a mini-game’s a snack, then 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix should be an undeniable feast of pesto-topped blinis and goat's cheese mini tartlets, right?

Rather than opting for any sort of story-based contextualisation, the game lays each entrée in front of you on a simple scrolling buffet menu.

Only a few are available from the outset though. The others have to be unlocked one-by-one using cash gained playing the available games. You win some coins just by playing the games, but the real wonga is made by achieving a certain score, thereby 'completing' them.

The games themselves are commendably varied, including retro-tinged shooters, simple racing games, logic puzzles, jigsaws, sudoku, plus odd little timing games including one where you have to get a character to jump out of a falling lift onto a floor of a building before it hits the ground. As the title suggests, there are 101 in total.

The quality does vary, and quite a few of them will frustrate, but the overall standard is fine. Annoyingly, some of the initially playable games are among the most frustrating, including the obligatory all-too-tricky basketball hoop shooter game.

This may sound like the sort of faint praise that partners eternal damnation, but there are other motivating forces at work in 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix than just the playing of the games themselves.

Before you've bought a locked game, it only appears as a title. Pictures appear for each games once they've been bought, but before this, you only see a padlock. The curiosity factor of wondering what a mini-game called Mad Baker might play like shouldn't be underestimated.

Still, once you've got a nicely-developed bulge in your wallet, perusing the game select menu is like looking into the window of a sweet shop - and we're talking about one of those old Dickensian ones with jars full of mysterious wonder rather than an abandoned Woolworths.

The game’s in-built difficulty curve is well-managed, meaning that the choice of games you can unlock is never so great as to be alienating. Working across the list, each mini-game is banded in terms of how much it costs to unlock.

More expensive games also reap greater rewards, allowing for a fairly smooth progression towards game 101.

Despite our initial frustration, they generally get more difficult the more expensive they are, demanding a better performance before surrendering their finishing pot of coins. In practice, what this means is there comes a point when, after unlocking about half the games, the pace slows down and you're forced to focus a little more.

However, they are largely designed to be disposable. Games you’ve unlocked earlier won't get you enough points to unlock new games - grinding for dollars is strictly frowned upon in 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix.

That said, the fact the game does record all your high scores means that you may well see yourself returning to your absolute favourites - just don't expect you'll want to re-visit all of them.

Considering this though, they're remarkably competent in terms of their visuals. Although not particularly stylised in the manner of some other mini-games collections, there is some cartoony buoyancy there.

So while 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix isn’t anything like one hundred and one chunks of gaming gold, the way the nuggets are packaged into a journey-like experience does work.

Frankly this is a title that it would be easy to look down and sneer at, but we're not going to. It does what it sets out to do with satisfactory results, if little flair.

To invoke the food analogy once more then, while 101 in 1 Explosive Megamix isn’t a smoked salmon mini-quiches and lemongrass-infused crab meat filo pastry parcels finger buffet, it does offer plenty of Twiglets, Hula Hoops and pineapple-and-cheese-on-a-stick bites.

And who hasn’t pigged out on that selection once in awhile?
101-in-1 Explosive Megamix
Reviewer photo
Andrew Williams | 7 February 2009
Not all the mini-games on offer here are winners, but the structure of 101-in-1 Explosive Megamix not only minimises frustration but spurs you forward too
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