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Big Bang Mini

Format: DS
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Arkedo Studio
Publisher: Southpeak Interactive

Out 06/03/09

We have to set boundaries for Gary Hartley...

Writing about Big Bang Mini in 500 words is a little like creating a football-playing octopus spliced with DNA from Beckham and Pele, dropping a sack of balls at its boot-clad tentacles then confining it to a four-foot cubed room. You need a certain depth, a certain room to breathe, to fully appreciate the unfolding insanity. Otherwise, all you get is muddy footprints on the wallpaper.

I'll stop wasting words in frustration. What should I talk about first?

I could talk about the premises. Itís word-savingly simple when condensed into its most basic form: take control of random geometric shapes and blow things up to ever-changing backdrops hosting vastly different gimmicks. But boiling the game down to such a bare-bones summary is like saying the sun is that slightly bright thing over there.

It's a busy game that offers not a fraction of peace or a snatched second of reflection. You have clear-cut options: you can attack the sadistic hordes that descend upon you by striking the DS' touch-screen like striking a match, sending swarms of fireworks into their sadistic ranks. Offence is good, but, in your haste to eradicate, you leave yourself vulnerable to two things:

ONE! Should your rockets miss their target, they explode and shower the screen with deadly debris!

TWO! As long as you're attacking, your shape is stuck, immobile and helpless.

"...laser-spitting crimson piggybanks..."

In a brave attempt to actually integrate the DS' touted touching into a usable gimmick, Mini makes your avatar only mobile when firmly stabbed by stylus and traced across the screen. So, when you draw your attacks, you're at your most defenceless; when you push yourself through the barrage of bullets, you can muster zero aggression.

You don't have time to fire. You need to dodge the razor-edged leafs fluttering deceptively on the chilly breeze that sweeps projectiles around in unpredictable patterns. Perhaps abusing the stage's unique vortex summon to suck them into another dimension will by you some time. You can't just evade the heat-seeking cod-skeletons and hope they go away - they won't. Perhaps hurling your newly-acquired heat-seeking whirligigs at the aquatic bastards will thin their numbers. I could spent my measly word quota talking about the uncountable cast of oddities that serve as cannon fodder. The sulky panda bears squatting on wispy clouds dropping bangers or the laser-spitting crimson piggybanks held aloft on balloons. But I won't. Iíve less than 100 words left.

It's not enough to do justice to the rocking BGM or the stand-out backdrops of the neon-tinted Hong Kong or the blizzard-covered Luxor. I no longer have the space to describe the multi-tiered boss fights that cap each stage or the puzzle-esque bonus stages that draw the curtain on each level. I'm not even going to try and shoehorn the plethora of hidden options and game modes Mini will drop in your lap as you progress. Mini is a brilliantly-realised but busy game, and, in doing it justice, I might just run out of

Complex and invigorating. A real cracker.

About our scores...

Issue 4


Editor's Note

The Special Report
A silly video! Hooray!

The Evolution of Horror
A look back at the genre's history

16-Bit Boy
Do our minds corrupt the most innocent games?

Is it 'Game Over' for survival horror?
Where's the genre heading?

The Angry Gamer
Are games programmed to cheat?

Listen to your Elders!
Lessons from the FPS grandfathers

Vince D. Weller
What makes a good RPG?

Interview: Dan Pinchbeck
How far can we push FPS boundaries?

First Impressions: Resident Evil 5
Rekindling the spirit?


F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason

The Last Remnant

The Path

Big Bang Mini



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