REVIEW – I <3 GEEKS (DS)
Game – I <3 Geeks
Version – DS
Time Spent Playing – 7 hours
Price – $14.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of CDV US
The game tells the tongue-in-cheek story of the brainy geek who overcomes the burly jock using his huge IQ while winning the heart of the beautiful cheerleader (who just so happens to help you escape from the bullies in the introductory animation.)
Gameplay and Controls
As I stated above, I Heart Geeks is a game chock full of cerebral challenges in over 100 levels with increasing difficulty. Thankfully, there is a hint system in place, albeit a flawed one. The levels are split among 4 geeks who will teach you new mechanics along the way. The first geek, Milton, teaches you about controls and mechanics. Theodore teaches you about gases, Gilbert teaches you about electricity and Eugene is the final geek whom I have yet to make it to. So, as for what he teaches you…your guess is as good, if not better, than mine.
When each level loads up, the bottom screen displays a picture of the current geek with a text box displaying your task. An example of this would be, “Target Practice: Get the catapult to shoot the ball into the box.” After you tap on Continue, the bottom screen displays your inventory and a few buttons you can tap.
Sorry for the terrible quality, I took a picture using my 2mp integrated webcam on my laptop.
As you can see from the above picture, you have a ball in the upper right, a catapult and a box on the left middle of the screen. Your job is then to use whatever tools you have at your disposal to achieve the goal. You can see they even included a handy yellow arrow that points to where the catapult ammo needs to end up. In all seriousness, these arrows are more helpful in later levels. Really quickly, I want to go over the icons on the bottom screen. Notice in the main portion, which is your inventory, there is a spring and a board. If you had more than one available, this would be indicated by a number under the icon. In the upper right corner, you can see Milton with a question mark next to his face, this is the hint system. On the bottom right is the Start button which you tap once you have placed your items where you think they need to be. This will change to “Stop” upon clicking and vice-versa. The menu button just pulls up a basic menu. The final thing to note is the red circle icon with two white arrows, tapping this icon moves the top screen onto the bottom screen and allows you to place the items you have selected.
I feel like I need to STOP here and rant. People, if you haven’t thought how inconvenient that is, think about it now. You have an inventory system that can only be accessed from a separate screen. Yes, yes I know other games do that on the PC and consoles and even handhelds. Just wait, there’s more! You can only select up to 5 items in your inventory at a time and as you place those items on the level they will only be placed in the order you selected them in. Does that make any sense to you? I get it, as more items are added you need the space, but I just don’t care for it. Plus, the limitations on how many items you can select and the order they are placed just stink. I think it would have been much better to have a floating inventory which you could drag and drop items from at will and move the box as needed. /RANT
The hint system took me a few minutes to figure out, but it was helpful at times. If you are stuck trying to figure out where to place an item just click the item in your inventory and click and hold the hint button. This will display a ghost image on the upper screen showing you were to place the item. The downside to this is that as soon as you let go of the hint button the ghost image disappears. Not to mention, you then have to flip the screen and hope you remember exactly where to place the item (that is part of the reason I said the hint system is flawed.) In addition, the hint system will not tell you where to place chains, or power cords. This isn’t so bad, except in cases with multiple options. Also, if you don’t place the item in the exact spot hinted at, you may just not be able to solve the puzzle until you are exact in your placement. This didn’t happen every puzzle, but often enough to take note of.
To give you an idea of what you will be up against, here are some of the items you will be working with – sponges, balloons, magnets, candles, mirrors, lasers, batteries, gears, chains, power cords, scissors, springs, boards, generators and more! There is a bit of variety in what you will be working with in order to accomplish your goals and not everything has to be used. The good thing is that there is more than one way to beat a level.
I’ll go ahead and admit here that I’m not a big fan of puzzle games, especially ones that require you to use logic. I think it has something to do with the fact that I know I’m not good at them and rather than improve I get frustrated and quit. Mmm, that’s some good humble pie. Moving on! Going into I <3 Geeks I was a bit skeptical of how much fun I would have trying to solve over 100 puzzles. Needless to say, I persisted in my quest and found that I enjoyed myself from time to time, but unfortunately this was not always the case. Especially considering I couldn’t make it past Level 57! I have been stuck on this level for weeks now. Every time I come back to the game, I think a fresh approach will help me solve it, but no such luck. I searched the internet for help, I even contacted a fellow editor at another Nintendo fan site and he actually got stuck on Level 56.
Once you complete all of the tasks assigned to you by the present geek, you must face off against a bully. All you have to do in these situations is lure the bully into chasing you on the football field. From here you have a set amount of time to use a robotic contraption to hang the bully by his underwear from the score board. Excitement abounds!
Visuals and Sound
Other than the objects themselves, which do look good, the visuals are bland, repetitive and incredibly dull. As you can see from screenshots, the backgrounds are plain and boring. The character design is alright but nothing memorable. I promise I’m not trying to be negative here, but the music is just as repetitive and forgetful.
Concluding Overall Impressions
If you’re looking for a challenging, puzzle solving game with plenty of content to keep you entertained for several hours then I <3 Geeks is probably right up your alley. However, you won’t really find much enjoyment in the music or visuals. Overall the game will either be beaten by some of you dedicated gamers, while others will relegate this game to their backlog only to be played when bored. Sadly, I do not <3, I <3 Geeks.
Final Score: 3 out of 5