Setup & Timing
The Single-Card Download Play portion of Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island is extremely light and simple. The setup works well for kids, as
it is a pick-up-and-play-without-a-rulebook design. While they graphics are nice, there is not much to download, so why it takes a full 45 seconds to
download is a mystery.
Menus & Navigation
The fields that you need to tap on Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island's menus are large and easy to tap without missing or tapping the wrong
field. The navigation, on the other hand, could have been designed better. While "Mini Game" does make sense in retrospect, a kid looking to try out
the Single-Card Download feature with his friend isn't really being pointed anywhere, especially since it doesn't say on the package that the
Single-Card Download content doesn't apply to the main game. In addition to that, once the download is complete and players are choosing their
characters, the stup is a list format that doesn't give you the option currently highlighted by the other player. Three faces (one per character) with
the face the other player currently has selected grayed out would at least indicate that a third option is available, but already chosen. The current
method just adds some confusion for children.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island uses the direction pad for movement. That's it. Nothing else. No buttons. No touch screen. If you
want to bump your opponent's character, you move into them. Nothing else to remember. Sounds easy, right? It is - too easy. The difficulty
level is set to be playable by a five or six year old, but most five and six year olds don't own a Nintendo DS. A GameBoy, maybe, but not a lot of
parents want to spend $130 on a portable game system with a feature as sensitive as a touch screen. At least, not a lot of parents I know.
Something as simple as jumping up to catch the fruit above your opponent's head or assigning bumping to a button would make the game more interesting.
Movement could also stand to be a little more smooth (and I'm NOT referring to the Riverbank level).
The look of the game is beautiful - bright, colorful objects, recognizable characters, and nice designs. The look is probably the best feature
to the game. The game's sound is pretty much take-it-or-leave-it. It doesn't get in the way, but it doesn't help either. The only features to the
game are the four levels and three characters to choose from.
Quick preface: On this site, I only review the Single-Card Download functions for Nintendo DS titles. I do not review the main, single-player
game. If you want information on Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island's main, single-player game, there are links to those review sites in Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island's Game Profiles (near the bottom of the page).
Not only am I a fan of the Nintendo DS, I sell video games for a major retailer and am certified as a school teacher (K-8). In my experience,
the starting age for a Nintendo DS usually tends to be 9 or 10 (there are, of course, exceptions - I'm just saying what I have seen in practice). Why,
then, would a company create a game that would only challenge 5 and 6 year olds, while being interesting (theme-wise) to 9 and 10 year olds and
pre-teens? In all honesty, I'd go so far as to say that 2/3 of all parents who've never played a video game in their life wouldn't find this
Single-Card Download content challenging by the second play through. It's not that the theme is bad, because it isn't. It's not that the play control
is terrible, because it isn't. The problem is that the Single-Card Download content on this title is worth about one minute of entertaining play (one
time) and each game runs just under two minutes. You'll likely play it once, maybe even enjoy it, and then move on.
Add in additional characters, even if they're just cameos and don't appear in the main game.
Allow for selection of game length.
Change the character select screen to icons of each charzcter's face, grayed out when selected.
Set up the Single-Card Download content to allow up to four characters.
Design characters so that there is something different in how they play - speed, vulnerability, jumping, etc.
Create a "Multiplayer" menu for easy access.
Include original voice actor voice work (just a few snippets for "Ow!", "Yum!", and "Begin!") with an on/off option.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 25 / 100 (a.k.a. 12.5/50)
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