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NDS Review - 'Six Flags: Fun Park'

by Dustin Chadwell on March 15, 2009 @ 1:49 a.m. PDT

Playing a bevy of midway-style games of chance and skill, players utilize the DS dual screen and stylus to simulate the motions of the games, recreating the beloved games of skill found at Six Flags, like Ring Toss, Whack-a-Mole, and many others, adapted to compliment the various themed areas of the park.

Genre: Mini-Games
Publisher: Brash Entertainment
Developer: Seven Studios
Release Date: November 11, 2008

Six Flags: Fun Park is a DS title that's obviously trying to cash in on the popular Carnival Games mini-game collection craze on which a few other developers have been capitalizing in recent months (I'm looking at you, Wonder World Amusement Park). However, Six Flags does a pretty good job of distancing itself from Carnival Games in not only the size of the park you get to explore, but also in the variety of mini-games. It still uses a somewhat-troublesome unlocking system similar to other mini-game titles, but I enjoyed a lot of what Six Flags: Fun Park had to offer.

If you want to search for it within the game, there's a story to uncover, but I didn't find it to be interesting or anything that I really cared about, aside from unlocking new areas of the park or new games to play. It's easy enough to get by, though; you simply look for non-playable characters in the park environment with a star over their heads, chat with them, and do whatever they tell you to do. There's no real challenge involved with the story, and I believe that most of the fun will come from the mini-games and not the game's boring story line.

The story does do a good job of acclimating you to the different sections of the park, and it's a really big place. There are different sections that spread out from the main hub, which houses a huge Ferris wheel that's been down for the past year or so. As you uncover that mystery within the story, you'll visit each of these themed areas in an attempt to generate coins and tickets to help you unlock even more mini-games around the park. Occasionally, you'll run into a character who will ask you to retrieve something or complete sets of different prizes, and they'll usually reward you with a toy or collectible for your trouble. There's no real benefit to unlocking or collecting these things other than to feel like you've made some progress, but they'll come naturally anyway, so that's nice to see.

One thing I found disappointing was the lack of what appear to be licensed rides or areas, of which Six Flags has quite a few. All the areas and attractions in the game appear to be generic, and it takes away some of the realism from the title. I understand that that the omission of licensed character names was probably due to a limited budget, but it would have been nice to see something thrown into the mix. Also, I can't help but feel as if the area in the game feels less like a major theme park, which Six Flags is, and more like a local fairground or carnival attraction. This is in part due to the fact that the majority of the attractions are simple carnival-style games, but I don't feel that the scale translates well to the DS title.

When you're playing the mini-games, Six Flags is pretty fun to check out. There are quite a few in each area, and like the areas themselves, they all carry a common theme, like horror/Halloween, space, etc. There are quite a few to unlock, which helps to prolong the experience, and for the most part, the controls on each game have a solid amount of variety, which is something I've found lacking in similar titles, like Wonder World Amusement Park. That's not to say that you won't see small variations and repeats crop up; a lot of areas have a game that's basically whack-a-mole, and the only real changes are the enemies. However, even with that game, there are some cool differences that can occur; for instance, the horror-themed area has you hitting corpses that rise from their graves, but this time out, you get a life bar with three hearts. If the zombies get up high enough, they can take a swipe at you, making this feel like something from House of the Dead, and it's a pretty cool variation on an otherwise boring mini-game.

Along with the mini-games, there are a ton of non-player character interactions to find, and like I said earlier, quite a few of them will offer up what equates to a side-quest for you to gain various knickknacks around the park, open up new areas or unlock new games to check out. You can even do a little exploring on your own by checking the trashcans and trees around the park, which may contain coins or other items.

There are basically two types of attractions in the park: coin-operated games that reward you with coins or ticket games that offer up three levels of prizes. It's easy enough to tell between the two, and you'll often need coins to buy into the ticket games or play other coin titles. You can even earn a little dough by taking on some of the different jobs around the park, but that opens up a little later into the title, after you've had a word or two with the head honcho at the park. It's something different to pass the time with, and it adds to Six Flags' immersion level.

For fans of mini-game titles, Six Flags: Fun Park is probably one of the better ones available on the DS. I'm not a big fan of unlocking things and not being able to play them in a quick-play mode whenever I want, but I'll say that the way you go about unlocking items here has a bit more to it than just gathering enough coins to buy something. Visually, it's not the best-looking game on the system, and the character models are pretty disappointing, as is the art direction outside of the mini-games. I had some fun with this title, and I'd recommend renting it to see if it's your cup of tea before jumping into a purchase.

Score: 7.0/10

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