Reflection (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Mike Mason 23.09.2009

Review for Reflection (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

In a way befitting the game, both Mike Mason and Adam Riley 'reflect' upon this forthcoming DSiWare release.

I'm billing Konami for £130. I now need a DSi. The line-up as a whole for the platform looks great, as you'll have seen from our other hands-ons, but it is Reflection that is the one that's pushing me over the edge.

Mike Mason's Impressions

It's a concept that will take some people a little time to get their heads around. Reflection spans both screens of the DS, the action on each both intermingled and separate. The bottom screen literally acts as a reflection to the top screen, so you'll see the same character moving identically on both screens. However, the environments alter between the two screens, so you have to be careful that whatever movement you make is going to be beneficial/non-fatal for both of your characters. Not only that, but obstacles not part of the core floor are effectively on both screens, even when they're not always visible. You might have a pillar on the bottom screen to jump over, but in the same spot on the top screen just a mysterious space in the air that is blocking you.

DS virtuosos may realise right away that this is pretty much the concept that EnjoyUp's flawed-but-fun retail game Chronos Twin had a couple of years back, only this time the gameplay is taking place in the same time period rather than the past displayed on one screen and the present on another. However, producer Hersh Choksi emphasised that the team had never even heard of Chronos Twin until recently, prior to DSiWare production, let alone played it! This is because, sadly, the game was never released outside of Europe. However, despite this roadblock, Intrinsic Games have managed to overcome many of the flaws EnjoyUp's title suffered from during development of Reflection. There are regular checkpoints, no enemies and the focus is completely on puzzle-platform gameplay, rather than the action that got just a bit too hectic in Chronos Twin.

Screenshot for Reflection (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Just like Chronos Twin, though, the game has some moments that are hard as nails. You're not going to be able to just waltz your way through; soon you'll be wall-jumping up (or down, on the bottom screen) invisible pillars, while also trying to ascertain just what is happening on the other screen. If you don't stop to think, you might also find yourself making your situation even more difficult than necessary. Things are also complicated by the fact that you can, at certain times, separate your reflection so that they are moving on different parts of the screens. At one point I didn't notice that there was an extra part of floor of the bottom screen that I could walk against to temporarily separate my reflection from my upper self so that the two could jump simultaneously across pillars that were not aligned perfectly, and so I ended up wall-jumping half way across the chasm - and somehow made it, though just the once.

Screenshot for Reflection (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Adam Riley's Impressions

Having never played Chronos Twin, rather than mirroring Mike's first impression of Reflection I personally felt it was extremely reminiscent of Konami's own 2D brand of Castlevania style adventures. I had initially ignored the game purely on the basis that from a distance it was not as aesthetically pleasing as other games on the show-floor. How foolish it was to underestimate the game in such a way! Anyway, once I had overcome my ridiculously shallow mindset, jumping into the game and taking control of protagonist Kirra, an adventurous young lady who has been tasked with tracking down and retrieving a magical mirror, proved to be a massively enjoyable experience. In fact, the game does indeed control very much like the Castlevania series, with the pleasing addition of wall-jumping, double-jumps and platform-hanging from the likes of the 2D Metroid games. Every holds together very nicely indeed...

Screenshot for Reflection (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

As mentioned earlier, the mechanic is not based around combat in a platform field, rather taking on a stronger puzzle slant, with Kirra breaking her Mirra (I mean 'mirror', of course…) and finding reality has subsequently been split, leading to the unusual situation of both her and the world itself being sliced in two, yet existing in tandem. There are some truly brain-aching moments, but the challenge remains on the right side of frustrating, never straying into the sort of territory that leaves gamers pulling their hair out and switching off. Just as Professor Layton attempted, successfully, in bringing more of a developed story to the brain training world, Intrinsic Games is hoping its mirror-based puzzle gameplay can equally be married up with a tale that is woven as the game progresses, with players coming across scrolls that provide more information on the world overall and main character herself.

So whilst Intrinsic Games may not be including any sort of multiplayer mode, such as a time trial race-to-the-finish aspect, or online features, the team definitely has an extremely polished (perhaps not in terms of visuals, though…) product that should keep all sorts of gamers happy. There are also ideas tucked away for if and when Konami gives the green-light the group to make a second game. After all, there are plenty of other exciting thoughts lodged in their heads from what we were told on the day, and it would be a shame to let them go to waste. However, for now gamers should definitely look forward to this Q4 2009 DSiWare release, be they fans of the Castlevania series, platform games in general or even the puzzle genre alone.

Screenshot for Reflection (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Reflection is just the game that DSiWare needs. It's deceptively simple on first glance at the visuals, but it soon becomes apparent that it's going to be a great and interesting challenge. It has that 'one more go' gameplay down to a tee, and despite the difficulty there is little frustration thanks to well-placed checkpoints.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


This looks great. Smilie

Any news on how many levels there are or how much it'll cost?

Ooh, lemme think. I think I may have spied 20 levels or so, but I can\'t be sure - could be a few more than that! I\'ll try and find out for you.

As for price, I don\'t think they could confirm just yet...very few could at the event, sadly.

( Edited 23.09.2009 23:27 by Mason )

I reckon it's going to be one of the 'Premium' DSiWare titles, so around the 800 Points mark.

As for levels...I can't remember what was said on the day, to be honest. Hmm...I think maybe the guy said something about 6-8 hours, which for a download game sounds very reasonable indeed! I may be off the mark a bit there, though. Perhaps Mike can remember better.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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