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NDS Review - 'Feel the Magic: XY/XX'

by Nathan Mourfield on Dec. 23, 2004 @ 1:59 a.m. PST

Feel the Magic: XY/XX challenges gamers to switch from tapping and rubbing the touch screen to screaming and blowing into the microphone to control character actions. As unique as the control system, the surreal, humor-driven story follows an "average Joe" who enlists the help of the Rub Rabbits, a suave gang of dramatic performers who wear plastic rabbit ears, to help him capture the attention of a beautiful young woman.

Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Sega Soft
Publisher: Sonic Team Sega
Release Date: November 21, 2004


Feel the Magic XY/XX is a strange concept as a game, but makes much more sense when looked upon as a proof of concept title that happened to make it out of the development stage. Do not get me wrong here, Feel the Magic is a great set of minigames, yet it gives the feeling that Sega tried to use every feature the Nintendo DS had for a single player game.

The concept and plot of Feel the Magic is that the player has fallen for a girl and joined a performance group, the Rub Rabbits, to impress her and win her heart. It is like getting a bunch of college fraternity brothers to help get a woman. These guys are nuts. There is also the antagonist, Some-Big-Fat-Guy-With-Weird-Hair, who is trying to sabotage the hero’s relationship and steal the girl, literally. The protagonist also has some issues in the past with trying to save a girl from drowning, which turns out to be the current girl. It is like the plot for Knot’s Landing.

The hero gets through it by taping, yelling, blowing, and rubbing his way through these various challenges while impressing the love of his life. Each challenge leads to the next, bridged by spastic cutscenes that help with the tone of the title.

Each one of the mini-games works off the DS’s unique features as an interface into the game. The control pad and buttons are not used in this title, making it completely dependant on the touchpad for control. Blowing on the touchpad is a misnomer; the microphone, not the touchpad, actually detects the player.

The yelling mini-game requires special notice, since it can be quite disturbing for other people. It requires the player to yell at the girl to get her attention, while the player’s ‘buddies’ play loud musical instruments near her. I would not recommend this part of the game in a parking lot or other public place, since it tends to disturb people.

Beating a mini-game, or series of mini-games, allows the player to move on to the next level, and might unlock some clothing for the girl. In addition, clicking on certain spots on the screen before the explanation of the mini-game can provide more unlockables, if the mini-game is beaten.

Each one of the mini-games can be played again after it is first beaten, with twice the number of difficulty levels, if there was any. Beating all the levels unlocks even more clothing for the girl. When the game is beaten, it unlocks a sound test and a hard difficulty mode to the game. Sega means it when they say hard.

The finial little trick to the game is something somewhat neat that I did not know the DS could do. If a Sonic Team Sega GBA game is in the GBA slot, it will unlock further clothing for the girl. The fact that the Nintendo DS can detect what is in the GBA slot, even when using a DS game opens all sorts of possibilities.

Graphics of this title, as with much of this game, have a neo-70’s feel to them. None of the characters is fully drawn out, being defined by their shape alone, with maybe some clothing to boot. This, with the cell-shading like graphics, gives a feeling of an artistic piece instead of a game title. The color scheme is that ’70’s warm color layout of reds and browns, with deep rich blues stuck in for fun.

The music is four neo-jazz themes, harkening back to the Jazz-Fusion days of old. Each one of the tunes happens to be tacky in their own way, but is not too distractive. The sound effects are limited and seem not to have been given that much in the way of effort to develop. The developers did not use the DS’s simulated surround sound features, instead focusing on what could be done with the controls.

Feel the Magic is a quirky title that can be fun, the first time around. Not being an avid collector of clothing for the girl in the game, I got bored with the game once I had beaten it the first time through. This title, while cheep, has little replay value to those who are not fanatical about the strange mini-games. I would recommend this game for someone who would like a fast paced series of mini-games for when waiting in line.

Score: 8.5/10

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