Setup & Timing
Diddy Kong DS is set up with new users in mind. Navigation through the menu is simple (as long as you stick to the touch screen and don't use the control pad). Single-Card Download has it's own area accessed by entering the profile and then the "Multiplayer" menu. The opening credits sequence could be more skipable than it is, but it's not a deal breaker by any means.
Menus & Navigation
As long as you're using the touch screen to navigate, everything goes smoothly. Tapable areas are large circles with plenty of buffer space. The sensitivity is also measured out well. If you try to navigate with the direction pad, you may get confused: right and left navigate clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Control in the game is hard to describe. There are three different vehicles, so there are three different control schemes. The cart responds pretty much as expected. The plane controls alright, but is a little difficult to keep aloft. The hovercraft is accurate. In fact, it's so accurate that it'll take the longest to get used to, but can become more comfortable than the others (depending on each person's own sentimentalities). The buttons are well programmed and comfortable. The vehicles, once you get used to them, are fine.
The game very much maintains the look and graphical style it had in its original incarnation on the Nintendo 64 system. Some of the polygonal designs look a bit dated, but are excusable (especially since it is A. a port of an older game and B. are reminiscent of days past - but not for you younger kids, since you didn't live it). The sound is a pleasant mix of background music and foreground sound effects - as it should be. In terms of features, there are five game modes available in Single-Card Download format. Single Rance, Trophy Race, and T.T.'s Wish Race (once unlocked) are traditional race stages which (depending on the course) can allow for a selection of vehicles. Battle Tracks (once unlocked) and Token Tussle (once unlocked) are more accurately referred to as battle stages or mission stages. If all of the hidden racers are unlocked, there are 16 racers to choose from - every single one from within the single-player game. The amount of content avqailable via Single-Card download is simply phenominal.
Category Score: 14.5 / 15
Diddy Kong Racing was originally released on the Nintendo 64 and, to this day, there are still gamers who prefer it so the Mario Kart series. Diddy Kong Racing DS is a port of the original version with several changes. The roster is different: Conker and Banjo (who are owned by Rare which is now owned by Microsoft) were removed and Taj, WizPig, Tiny Kong, and Dixie Kong have been added as playable characters. The game boasts access to the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection and added several multiplayer modes - plus Single-Card Download play.
There are a lot of unlockables in Diddy Kong Racing DS - far more than the average game - and most of these unlockables are accessable via Single-Card Download play. Everything from characters to tracks to entire gameplay modes can be added with more playing time (and effort) in the single-player experience. In other words, there is a LOT of replay value here. The racing is solid and, with multiple vehicles, much more varied than almost any racing game available for the Nintendo DS system. You can also play Diddy Kong Racing DS for longer periods of time because of the varied Single-Card Download modes and options, which are nearly unparalleled. While the single-player game has some features that didn't turn out as (I'm sure) the developers intended, I don't rate those features here - only the Single-Card Download portions of the game. The racing and battling in Diddy Kong Racing DS's Single-Card Download is extremely thorough, varied, engaging, and fun.
Allow for more customization in the track editor for "T.T.'s Wish Race" mode.
Negotiate the rights to the other original characters: Banjo The Bear & Conker The Squirrel
Include additional, larger Battle Tracks that can accomodate up to eight players.
Offer handicapping for Single-Card Download play.
Category Score: 12.5 / 15
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 90 / 100 (a.k.a. 45/50)
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