Developer: Taito Corporation / 505 Games
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Originally called Mawasunda!!, Majesco is releasing Turn it Around! with an obvious eye toward exploiting the popularity of mini-game compilations on the DS. As far as mini-games go, Turn it Around is an especially rich and diverse collection, with games a little bit more substantial than your average WarioWare distraction but containing much of the same spirit of playful insanity. The game takes full advantage of some of the classic titles in Taito’s inventory, as well as the DS’s two-player wi-fi.
Most of the Turn it Around mini-games are based in some way on classic or retro games, like Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid, Elevator Action and Cameltry. The ones that aren’t tend to involve spinning the stylus quickly on the touch pad to accomplish a given goal, similar to the “spinning” gameplay parts of Elite Beat Agents. Some games require you to turn the disc precisely, in the manner of the old ‘knob’ controller some arcade games used in the 80’s; others call for EBA’s furious fast-as-possible spinning. The classic games also use the mechanic, but to a lesser extent. There are about twenty-our mini-games in all, each designed to be completed in about one minute. You can play the game in an “instant” mode that lets you play any particular game, and in a “campaign” mode that asks you to complete every game in a single sitting (which takes around an hour). Every game can be played in 2P mode, which requires two cards.
Much of the draw of Turn it Around lies in the game’s bright, amusing graphics. Games may call for you to keep a salaryman standing upright on a train surrounded by menacing caricatures of your average rush-hour commuter, or simply reinvent the quirky world of Bubble Bobble in much higher resolution. Some games even incorporate simple 3D graphics, although these games are noticeably less attractive than the 2D levels. As you play, you often use two little mascot characters with swirls on their faces and heroic poses; one is male, the other female. The same little mascots appear in a related Wii mini-game title Majesco is publishing later this year, called Furu Furu Park. The music is also pleasant, featuring a mixture of original tunes and new arrangements of classic game songs.
Turn it Around may strike you at first blush as something too short and light to be worth your time, but keep its $19.99 price point in mind. With copies sure to proliferate, this makes Turn it Around a good choice for gamers with short attention spans, or those just looking to kill a little time while waiting in a line or for a train. Finding someone to play against in 2P, where the gameplay is really at its best, should be relatively simple. While some players want 60-hour epics, others just want a pleasant little distraction from their surroundings, and maybe a shot of cute art and nostalgia to go with it. Turn it Around is exactly what that gamer wants, even if he or she doesn’t know it yet.