Portabliss: Antipole (DSiWare)

Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Antipole.
If you're a DSi owner feeling glum about the lack of free NES games today -- or if you're a 3DS owner wanting to play something new after binging on NES games -- Antipole is the ideal solution. It's a classic-style side-scrolling platform action game built around a really great gimmick: your character can flip gravity in a bubble around his body at will.

Your ability to reverse gravity allows you not only to stick to the ceiling, but to extend jumps by flipping mid-jump, to flip enemies and environmental obstacles, and even to send bombs back upward to the enemies that dropped them.

Each level introduces a new wrinkle to the formula, from lasers that you have to block with a box, to toxic pools of sludge that kill you in one hit -- and float upward toward you inside your gravity bubble -- to robotic spiders who exude their own gravity bubbles. The levels are brief enough, and the restart time quick enough, that it doesn't really irritate you that much to learn by trial and error. Antipole may not be the best-looking game on DS; in fact, the graphics have a sort of PC-shareware charm to them. But the level design and mechanics combine to make enjoyably devious puzzles. And, occasionally, like whenever that toxic sludge is involved, frustratingly devious puzzles.

If you happen to have an Xbox 360, you can try this game out -- it's on Xbox Live Indie Games. In fact, we featured it as an Indie Gem. It's just a cool game, on either platform!

Antipole is available from the 3DS eShop for $5, or the DSi Shop for 500 DSi Points. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.