Point Blank DS has damaged my reputation, nay, self-worth beyond repair before the box was even open. To do this week’s Ass Bin review, I had to lower myself from the level of sarcastic videogame elitist to well-meaning-but-misguided grandmother. With its colorful box art promising cartoon shenanigans featuring a mustached scientist and a headphones wearing, presumably street smart parrot, this game is the definition of shovelware trickery. The fact that I took this dirt clod off the shelf and to the counter only moments after entering the store bewildered the staff. Never before have such glares of judgment been thrown on a customer in the history of forever. And with good reason.
Remember movie theater arcades with light gun games like House of the Dead, Time Crisis, and Police Trainer that would suck up all your quarters and make you late for a movie because you just couldn’t walk away with one life left? Point Blank DS tries so hard to be like one of those classic games through its collection of shooting gallery style minigames that you almost feel sorry for it. The key word being almost. Unfortunately, this minigame collection lacks both the polish of those arcade titans and the testosterone soaked light gun, and thus, lacks fun.
Originally an arcade shooting gallery (who would have guessed), Namco first brought Point Blank out of the arcades and into homes on the Playstation. Apparently, they were able to trick enough people out of their money to warrant trying it again with a DS version in 2006; though, I have no idea how seeing as Point Blank is a monotonous trudge through antiquated gameplay. Minigames float between being too easy to be fun and too difficult to bother trying. Don’t worry if you fail since it doesn’t matter. There’s no penalty other than having to tap through a continue screen, and thus, no incentive to put in any real effort.
Menus insist on timers, punishing players who dare put their DS down between minigames with surprise choices forced on them. While it could be argued that the timers recreate the arcade experience, this isn’t an arcade game anymore. A bit of breathing room after an irritating shooting gallery would be appreciated. Even more confusingly, the scientist and parrot gracing the cover do practically nothing in the game, despite also taking a mascot like position on the start screen. Instead, two bland Bert and Ernie ripoffs fumble their way through several menus and minigames. Fortunately, they are also blessed with the power of mustaches, so not everything goes to hell.
Not *everything* with Point Blank DS is boring garbage, just most of it. In addition to the plethora of mustaches, the graphics are about average for a DS game from 2006, and when I could stand to have the sound turned up, the effects were fittingly playful, though jarring and repetitive. However, rapid fire gunshots comprise most of the sound effects, so take the praise with a mouth full of salt.
Point Blank does one thing supremely well, however – making players remember why Warioware was such a fun game. Unlike Nintendo’s minigame masterpiece, none of these minigames will make you laugh or long for a simpler age of gaming. You can’t even switch over to a different theme when you get bored of shooting. Wanna try slashing, dragging, or drawing your way through the game for a while? Oh, sorry, Point Blank DS is a tapping only zone. Players looking for variety will have to settle for the occasional different sized target to shoot.
Recommendation: Point Blank DS offers a handful of painfully dull shooting galleries fit only for children with attention spans so short, they wander off before noticing that they aren’t having any fun. If you value your DS at all, you should feel ashamed to abuse it with this cartridge. Though, it would be a funny joke gift for a friend. You know, if you’re into being a jerk.
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