With the huge rise in the number of handhelds out there, it's always seemed like just a matter of time before developers started coming up with ideas to utilise the units' functions and portability in more innovative ways.
Much has been promised in the past. In fact, we remember sitting in on an early demo of the Gizmondo (remember that?) and its makers promising all sorts of real-life interactivity, from using bar codes on supermarket products to level up characters, to playing turf war style games against other players using the console's in-built GPS technology.
Sadly, Gizmondo going bankrupt somewhat put the brakes on all those ideas. But a small Swiss developer (or art group as it likes to refer to itself) called and-or has picked up the baton with an idea for a DS game that's both unique and uses the real world to create its in-game levels.
We don't usually feature homebrew titles outside of our DS How Tos, but the abstract looking Metro-Wardive caught our attention.
The game intriguingly uses the WLAN waves in your surrounding area to create a game level for you to play. So wi-fi hotspots are detected and turned into enemies intent on capturing your 'wardive-cristal'.
Clearly such a situation would be unacceptable and so you must fend them off with your stylus and by activating shields. Or you can just walk down the road to see if they go away.
The whole prospect of games which use a part of their physical environments to determine gameplay is quite exciting, particularly as it's something unique to pocket gaming.
Of course, it can also prove gimmicky, as demonstrated by Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand, a GBA role-playing game arguably made a little less playable by having to venture outside when the sun was shining to recharge your character's solar energy 'light gauge'. Which, depending on where you live in the world, can present certain issues.
Still, with Metro-Wardive being a downloadable game, you've got nothing to lose by trying it out. It's available from its creator's website provided you have a suitable homebrew card, such as the Supercard (click here for more info on homebrew DS games).
And if you like the concept, there's a sound version available, too. Check it out here.