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PAX 07 hands-on: Indy 500 Legends (Wii, DS), Homie Rollerz, WordJong (DS)


Destineer had a bunch of new stuff on display for the Wii and DS. Indianapolis 500 Legends (Wii) was a racing game with an impressive historical bent. The game starts you in 1961, with each subsequent year to 1971 representing a new difficulty level, and presents (in addition to the full Indy 500) mission objectives based on actual races, organized by driver. Each year has three drivers, and each driver has at least three missions, for about 100 different missions, involving tasks like passing a rival or surviving a crash scenario. The track was modeled on the real Indianapolis Speedway and changes by year to match the authentic appearance at the time; almost every car's engine noise is recorded from that actual model. It's an incredible effort for what turns out to be a not-spectacular-looking Wii racing game with extremely touchy motion-based steering. I kind of got used to it, but we still felt like I was fighting the controls most of the time. The tire-changing pit-stop minigame was fun, though!

The game fared quite a bit better on the DS, though-- graphics that were disappointing on the Wii looked much better on the DS, and the game contains the same drivers, missions, and structure. The stylus-based steering works much better in my opinion than waggle. I don't know how interested in historical racing games on the DS you are (I'm usually not very) but I enjoyed my five minutes with it, at least.

WordJong is the DS version of the online tile-based word game. You pull letters off the pile to form words; longer words net you bonuses. With no time limits, it's a nice, low-pressure word game. I have nothing bad to say about WordJong. In fact, I could see someone getting their $19.99 worth out of it.

Homie Rollerz was both very early and a Homies kart racing game. My car was a burrito. I'm willing to look past the technical issues of the game, but my car was a burrito. I have yet to determine whether that's a positive or a negative for the game. It's got to be the first DS game based on capsule toys!

Also on display was the Fullmetal Alchemist trading card game, which keeps the exact rules and card set of the trading card game-- which means that it was way too complicated for me to figure out in five minutes.

John Deere: Harvest in the Heartland is a farming sim that differs from Harvest Moon in both its strict focus on farming (versus Harvest Moon's relationships) and the ability to purchase John Deere farm equipment. There's enough going on here (planting, feeding, cleaning, building barns/coops/etc., all kinds of farmy stuff) that Harvest Moon faithful may actually give it a look. Not being a Harvest Moon or farming person, I just swept up some poop and giggled.

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