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by Danny Bivens - May 6, 2011, 4:50 pm PDT
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The first game out of Nintendo Game Seminar 2010 in Japan... Could the kids make a good game?

The first of four titles that came out of this year's Nintendo Game Seminar in Japan has made its way to the DS via the Minna no Nintendo Channel, DS Station, and the Nintendo Zone. Planetaria, as well as all of the upcoming games from the Nintendo Game Seminar, was created by Japanese students over the course of a 10-month program. This group of students came up with a very interesting concept that is both easy and fun, making great use of the DS's touch screen capabilities.

The concept behind Planetaria is simple. The player uses gravity to control the direction of a comet. To use the gravity, the player simply touches anywhere on the bottom screen and the comet will be pulled in that direction. There are a certain number of planets scattered throughout each stage that the comet must circle before the stage can be completed. When close to the planet, the comet will be pulled into orbit. Once the comet orbits the planet, you have successfully “taken” the planet. After you capture the allotted amount of planets, you clear the stage.

Although the concept of capturing the planets sounds simple, there are a few obstacles that will hinder you from your conquest. These obstructions come in the form of asteroids. There are a few different kinds of asteroids that you have to look out for. The first kind of asteroids are blue, and once you hit them, the comet playfully bounces off of them and gets knocked in the opposite direction. What players will really have to look out for are the red asteroids. Once the comet comes into contact with a red asteroid, similarly to the blue asteroid, it will bounce off into a different direction, except this time, it will also take damage. If you get hit three times, you receive a game over and have to restart the level.

As the game progresses, the levels get increasingly difficult. Throughout the first few levels, the asteroids remain stationary, but further into the game, both red and blue asteroids move in various patterns across the stage. This definitely makes the game more challenging. As mentioned above, while capturing planets remains the goal of each stage, there are numerous golden stars littered throughout the stages to collect. After playing through each stage, you are ranked based on how many stars you collected throughout the level. It is a nice touch and definitely extends the replay value of the game.

With solid touch screen controls, an interesting concept, and a free price tag, Planetaria is a well put together game. Being a free game, however, the game is very short and can probably be completed in under an hour, maybe even a little bit longer if you try to get all of the golden stars on each level. The game was available from April 13 – 27 in Japan.

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Worldwide Releases

jpn: Planetaria
Release Apr 13, 2011
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