Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Antipole (DSiWare) Review

Review for Antipole on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Who said that games on the download market for Nintendo systems have to smaller, extremely simple affairs? Even the Nintendo DSi service, DSiWare, has been graced with plenty of meaty adventures, and Saturnine Games’ new release, Antipole, fits into that ‘hearty’ category perfectly.

Players take on the role of Johnny Hurricane, a lone mercenary enlisted by the government in an attempt to bring down a plague of nefarious robots. Infiltrating their Mothership in search of a potential weakness, Johnny stumbles across a device that makes Antipole more than a regular action platform adventure -- the Gravity Manipulator. The likes of Divergent Shift and Chronos Twins showed how well mirrored gameplay can work, and the recent Mighty Switch Force from WayForward is a superb new entry into the burgeoning new genre style. However, for Antipole, developer Saturnine Games has attempted something slightly different in the form of a gravity switching capability for the lead character in this portable download title that will set gamers back a mere 500 Nintendo Points.

Stages filled with dark, futuristic, industrial beats are the order of the day, whilst pleasingly tough challenges await around every corner. Whilst the visuals of the diminutive DSiWare edition do not quite match the sharp, crisp graphics found in the PC and Xbox Live versions, Antipole still succeeds in being sufficiently detailed to make those inch-perfect leaps across gaping holes, over (and under) dastardly rows of spikes, and past treacherous pools of acid no harder than they should be. This is especially important when all the while players have to utilise Mr. Hurricane’s handy laser blaster to shoot down pesky tin cans trying to sap precious hearts from his energy bar. Choose to race to the finish line in record time and achieve a special Gold Medal for beating set targets, or take the action at a more sedate pace; either way will result in some brilliant enjoyment throughout, even if the gruelling nature makes for a rough ride later on.

Screenshot for Antipole on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The Gravity Manipulator acts as a superb piece of kit that bolsters what would still have otherwise been a solid time trial-esque platform title, but just one without anywhere near as much to sink your teeth into. When attempting to work through the cleverly crafted stages to reach the finishing point, plenty of robotic critters will hinder progression to the best of their ability, yet Johnny Hurricane has the power to twist physics on its head (literally!) and encourage hapless enemies to wander into space or onto a pit full of sharp objects, sending them off to the mechanical graveyard in the sky. Not everything around the protagonist can be thrown into disarray, though, with only moveable objects within a certain proximity to the hero flipping from their current state, meaning that whilst the easiest route may be to reverse gravity from afar, there is still some challenge involved at times to get close enough in order to actually instigate some physics manipulation. Also, switching gravity to avoid a pit of spikes can be awkward when enemies come bounding along at the same time, leading to some extremely careful on-and-off changes required to almost bounce through thin air on the route to safety in the wisest possible manner.

There are some bosses to overcome, all of which make smart use of the gravity switching feature where their projectiles can be used against them, and there are three special coins hidden around every level that when collected unlock extra challenge areas for anyone whose nerves are still intact after the arduous, highly tense main mode. As players work their way through the sixteen levels (with four boss encounters), the difficulty level gradually increases in a very fair manner, and the fact that there are infinite lives and a healthy dose of check points so stages do not have to commence right from the very beginning -- one of the major drawbacks in Chronos Twins DX -- definitely makes for a better experience on the whole. Also, as a special treat for Nintendo owners of the game, the DSiWare version of Antipole features a special bonus mode for those that also downloaded Saturnine Games’ Cosmos X2. Have both games on the same DSi, DSi XL or 3DS system and it automatically unlocks a mode enabling players to go through Antipole using the three weapons from Cosmos X2. This sort of interconnectivity is wonderful to see and hopefully becomes a feature of many other download games in the future.

Screenshot for Antipole on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Focusing on pure, simplistic ideas and crafting devilishly tough stages around the core element works perfectly. Saturnine Games deserves a hardy pat on the back for producing an amazingly tight action platform experience that can be enjoyed by hardcore enthusiasts and those happier with a more leisurely pace at the same time.

Graphics

The stripping down of the graphics from the PC and XBLA editions of Antipole to fit onto DSiWare means this looks like quite an inferior handheld experience, but it is detailed enough and certainly fit for purpose.

Sound

Whilst the soundtrack may not appeal to some, anyone that loves nostalgic 80s-themed attempts at futuristic Industrial-esque music will adore the hard synthesiser beats pulsing through Antipole’s veins, and cranking up the bass via external speakers is highly recommended.

Value

For the 500 Nintendo Points price-tag, Antipole’s sixteen levels and four bosses may seem low value for money, yet given the test faced in completing everything properly, collecting all the hidden extras and opening up the special challenges, it actually proves to be money well spent.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Saturnine Games has delivered one of the tightest and most enjoyable experiences on the Nintendo DSiWare download service with Antipole. Fusing standard action platform antics with dastardly death traps and a fantastic gravitational twist to add in plenty of necessary strategic thought, for just 500 Nintendo Points this is easily one of the highlights of Nintendo’s download service. It can only be hoped that a sequel is also being worked on for the 3DS eShop or WiiWare so fans do not have to wait too long for more of this gaming goodness.

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06.03.2012

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Developer

Saturnine

Publisher

Saturnine

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

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There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Rob64 (guest) 09.03.2012 10:28#1

If Saturnine can cram an XBLA game into DSiWare, it makes you wonder why Team Meat are always moaning about Super Meat Boy not fitting on WiiWare! Take some tips from this, guys! Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

This really is such a fun game - but hard as nails!  I can't wait to try whatever Saturnine Games has planned next Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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