Meteos is a challenging puzzle video game developed by Q Entertainment and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game system. It is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB and is suitable for all ages.
This is a charming, sci-fi based falling-block style puzzle game for 1-4 players, simultaneous. Defend over 30 planets from an attack of "meteos" blocks sent by the evil planet Meteo. Several gameplay modes, wacky multiple endings, and various unlockable content, and excellent multiplayer support.
Gameplay is simple but slightly challenging. On a playing field, single meteos blocks fall down from space, each a random element. Players use the stylus to slide meteos up and down in each stack, to form arrangements of three adjacent elements. Once three elements meet horizontally or vertically, the meteos fuse and ignite, sending the blocks above them into the air. Sufficient thrust from fused blocks must be achieved to launch the mass of meteos into space and towards your opponent(s). Stacks will fall back to earth if they do not escape gravity's pull, and fused blocks do not immediately return to usable elements when they land. Combos can be formed with varying effects.
Each planet has unique properties, and this is where the game gets interesting. Very planet has a small biography and a stylized inhabitant that embodies the planet's nature. The width of the playing field can vary, as well as the gravity and the feeling of denseness of the atmosphere. In addition, certain planets have special ignition conditions, from extra-powerful vertical ignitions on Forte to the completely useless vertical ignitions on Vubble. Every planet has differently themed Meteos blocks and wildly different soundtracks and accompanying sound effects.
Every non-fused meteos block you launch into space is counted by the game, which keeps a massive collection of stats, from number of times the game was powered on in the Nintendo DS, to the number of times you've played each mode. You can use your saved Meteos to "fuse" special extras, such as new planets to play or sound sets from various planets.
Single-player mode allows you to choose between quick single games and story modes with branching levels, time trials, and endurance modes.
Multiplayer mode is available with both a single game card and 2-4 systems or with one game card for each player. Using DS Download Play mode with only one game card, player one chooses one of the four starting planets and waits for other players to connect before launching the game. Once the game is downloaded, players choose rules and teams and then launch meteos against each other. Multi-card mode is similar, with each player being able to choose any planet he has unlocked, and the user's Nintendo DS profile being stored in his opponent's system along with stats such as win/lose records.
This game is very simple to learn and very fast-paced. It is a challenge by oneself and very entertaining to play with others. There is real strategy involved as different planets must be approached differently and these strengths and weaknesses become more important when playing against others. Single-card multiplayer makes it easy to play with friends, and the extras menu allows you to send a demo of the game to other Nintendo DS systems, which stays loaded until the demo system is powered off. There is a lot of personality and polish and the game gives a vague sense of playing Super Smash Bros. Melee--indeed, that game's designer was the lead designer on Meteos.
The game is repetitive and unfortunately it is a bit too fast-paced. Simple games rarely last over 4 or 5 minutes and unlike Tetris, the game is too complex to be able to zone out and relax with. Each planet has differently themed blocks but some themes are extremely difficult to match up. Games often end with rapid, random sliding of the stylus up and down various stacks in hopes of randomly making combinations that will launch meteos into the air. The game is still a lot of fun but can be frustrating to play for long stretches. The collectability aspect and customizable matches mean house rules for multiplayer games can be established.
This is a good game to play with older young friends, and is also a good group activity for boys. Four players can play with four systems and one game card, but there are no handicaps for less-skilled players, who may grow tired of losing after a few short matches.