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Born for Wii: Cosmic Smash (page 3)

Wesley Fenlon

Unfortunately, Cosmic Smash does have one weakness -- it's a little feature-bare. The lack of options arguably expresses the game's clean, minimalist and futuristic aesthetic, much like how Shadow of the Colossus's vast, empty world emphasizes the sense of isolation and loneliness. On the Dreamcast, the only available options change how much time you have to complete the game and how many bonus seconds you get after each stage -- talk about the bare minimum. In Cosmic Smash's case, a few simple additions would make the game considerably more accessible.

Level Select -- The branching path system is unique, fun, and keeps the pace tight as you race the clock -- in short, it's a good system. But the option should exist to play individual levels once they've been completed, or, better yet, to pick any starting point on the map once that level has been cleared. The game's 50 stages (minus one special level) should keep you busy for a long time, especially considering how replayable they are. But being able to instantly jump to your favorite should definitely be an option.

Multiplayer -- Cosmic Smash multiplayer? Guaranteed Awesome. Splitscreen or online, racing to complete a stage first, or racing through a predetermined pathway of stages would be absolutely killer, and the replay value of this game would go straight through the roof.

Leaderboards -- Okay, so this one isn't exactly fair -- Cosmic Smash did have leaderboards. Waaay back in 2001 you could upload your high score online through a password the game gives you at the end of your run. But passwords are so 1990. In-game leaderboards are a must.

Endless Play
-- So let's say you just want to kick back and smash for awhile. No switching levels, no destination -- just you, the ball, and the blocks. With a modified scoring system, an infinite-play mode would be a great way to kill time. Think of it working in two different ways. The first is a total free play, in which blocks pop up in infinite numbers and random configurations, and it's merely a test of endurance to see how long you feel like playing. It could be a damn good workout, too.

The second could be a bit more frenetic -- starting with a set amount of time on the clock, each block could award an additional second of play time, turning Cosmic Smash into a (theoretically) never-ending race against time. To take it a step further, the game could take a page from the Tetris book and gradually begin to move faster and faster, making the blocks harder and harder to hit and the ball harder and harder to serve.

I still play the endless mode of Tetris on my cellphone all the time. In Cosmic Smash, it'd be pure gold.

And there you have it -- Sega's stylish Breakout game has absolutely cosmic potential on the Wii. With some of the added features I've laid out, it would be a robust package worthy of a retail presence. Without any additional content beyond a new control scheme, it would be a prime candidate for WiiWare. Still, given how awesome the game already is, I hope Sega would do it justice with a strong port that's a step beyond the bare minimum. Just try not to mess it up this time, okay guys?

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