Dino Master DS Review
Dino Master. So, upon hearing the title, I expected something downright outlandish, like the ability of taking control of different dinosaurs or trying to take down dinosaurs that had gotten downright ugly or even getting to the point that it was some kind of twisted dinosaur porno. But, surprise, all that Dino Master is is some kind of variation of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon where you have to use your skills to capture various dinosaurs, and occasionally challenge your friend in versus action. However, the problem is that Dino Master is essentially the master of no domain, a lifeless development that never comes together in any category.
The gameplay kinda balances out between Qix and rock-paper-scissors. The rock-paper-scissors comes in the form of guessing battles against the dinosaurs, where you have to use tactics in order to capture them, although it works way too often on guesswork and will leave plenty of frustration in its path as you try time and time again to effectively build a backlog of dinos. The rest of the game is made up of Qix-style corralling with an icon, where you have to tap on the touch screen to get things going in the right direction.
That'd be great and all if the gameplay weren't so damn broken. The controls are really inprecise and the reading of your touching on the screen is barely read right to even register, forcing you to have to tap several times in order to get your actions to come across. And thanks to the guesswork of the battles against the dinos themselves, you can never really gather any kind of strategy to put together to show them that you're the real Dino Master, so to speak. Weak.
This makes the Battle Mode against others completely useless, as you pretty much link up with a friend and then play the guessing game. Seriously, you'll save $40 and some battery juice from your system by merely keeping them turned off and playing a real game of rock-paper-scissors. You can even liven it up with a little slapping action, to make up for the pain you would have endured taking on this game. The lack of control-pad gameplay really make the game hurt, as there's no excuse to get around the touch-screen.
Presentation is equally broken, as you have to endure graphics that are so bad, you almost think you're playing a first-generation Game Boy Advance game. Hell, they're even more bland than that, with minimal animation and presentation. I guess that's part of the reason Majesco budget-priced it at $20, but one can't help but think that even the $20 price might be a wee bit much. The sound is equally bland and uninspired, with intolerable music and sound effects that don't even sound like they belong in a museum with decrepit dino-bones.
Dino Master does have some innovation in its game ideas, but they're executed horribly in terms of the terrible presentation and even worse gameplay. It just never structures like it should, and that leaves this smelling like a big bad pile of dino doo-doo. And no developer should have to see their product stamped like that.
What's Hot: Decent concept; copies the classic game of Qix at some points.
What's Not: Terrible, uncontrollable gameplay; bland-as-hell presentation.