Meteos

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Meteos
Meteos.jpg
North American Nintendo DS box art
Developer(s) Q Entertainment
Publisher(s) Bandai
Nintendo
Director(s) Takeshi Hirai
Producer(s) Tetsuya Mizuguchi
Designer(s) Masahiro Sakurai
Composer(s) Takayuki Nakamura
Kaori Takazoe
Platform(s) Nintendo DS, Mobile phone
Release date(s) Nintendo DS
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Meteos (メテオス Meteosu?) is a 2005 puzzle video game developed by Q Entertainment and published by Bandai and Nintendo for the Nintendo DS portable gaming system. The game was released in Japan on March 10, 2005, in North American on June 27, 2005, in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2005 and in Australia on November 24, 2005. In Meteos, the player moves colored piece of blocks called Meteos, launching three or more of the same colored blocks back onto the top of the screen. The game offers multiple modes, including a story mode. Q Entertainment founder Tetsuya Mizuguchi produced the game while Masahiro Sakurai designed it. Inspiration for Meteos came from video game Missile Command, TV series 24, and film The Matrix.

Meteos received positive reviews upon its release and topped Chart-Track in its first week. The game was compared to other puzzle games like Tetris and Lumines, a game for PlayStation Portable by the same developer. The game received multiple awards and nominations from several gaming publications. Later versions of the game were released for mobile phones and the Xbox Live Arcade. A sequel for the game, Meteos: Disney Magic, was released for the Nintendo DS.

Gameplay and plot[edit]

Gameplay of Meteos, featuring the player battling three other planets.

Described as a "shoot-and-lift-up puzzle" game,[5] Meteos has players moving colored pieces of blocks, called Meteos, falling from the top of the screen with the Nintendo DS stylus. Lining up three or more of the same colored Meteo horizontally or vertically cause them to boost them and any other block on top of them into the sky and be moved off the playing field.[6] The speed and frequency of falling Meteos can be slowed down or sped up by adjusting the "Speeder" gauge.[7] Power-ups can be used, which can either help or hinder the player or opponents. One example includes a giant hammer that can destroy multiple Meteos with a few swings.[8] With every Meteo sent out of the playing field are collected and cached in a virtual bank, where they can be used to unlock new planets, aliens, and sounds.[9]

The game features multiple game modes: the "Star Trip" mode, "Simple" mode, "Deluge", and "Time Attack". "Star Trip" mode is the game's story mode.[10] The plot of the game is the evil planet Meteo sending its matter known as Meteos to other planets, killing life and destroying worlds. By chance, three of same the Meteos fused together and launched it and other Meteos back into space. Civilizations from other planets plan a counterattack against Meteo. The player travels from planet to planet on The Metamo Ark, a warship constructed out of Meteos ore. Taking branching paths, with the last level having the player battle and defeating the planet Meteo.[7][10] "Simple" mode allows the player a quick play of the game while "Deluge" is an endless mode that ends with the player dies.[10] "Time War" has two separate modes for either getting the high score while on a time limit or a race to launch as many Meteos as possible in a set number.[11] The game also includes multiplayer, where the player can send up to four others a demo to play against each other with one game cartridge.[12]

Each planet is given their own music. The music used for each planet ranged from classical, country, pop, Bali, and music reminiscent of Space Invaders.[13]

Development and release[edit]

Meteos was developed for the Nintendo DS system.

Meteos was developed by Q Entertainment and published by Bandai and Nintendo, with Nintendo publishing it in the United States.[14][15][16] It was first announced by Nintendo in August 2004. Q Entertainment founder Tetsuya Mizuguchi was producer for the game, having been producer for Sega's Space Channel 5 and Rez. Masahiro Sakurai, formerly a director to the Kirby series, served as game designer.[14] Takeshi Hirai was the director for the game.[17] The soundtrack to the game was produced by Takayuki Nakamura and Kaori Takazoe.[18]

The game first came into fruition when Tetsuya Mizuguchi asked Masahiro Sakurai to make a falling block puzzle. Believing the genre hadn't evolved since Tetris Attack, Sakurai came up with the idea to have the blocks fall and be shot back up.[17] The prototype to the game was made in three days, created by a designer, a programmer, and a graphic artist.[19] Inspiration for the game included the TV series 24, film The Matrix and Missile Command. Mizuguchi explained the camera work in 24 was the basis of coming up with a concept for a puzzle game as well the opening in The Matrix with the green computer code dripping down.[20] The beginning of the game starts with a CG video that serves as explaining the backstory to the game. In an interview with Famitsu, Sakurai explained they made it to give a better sense of the game's world.[11] The game was demoed at Nintendo's booth at E3 2005.[21] It was later nominated for "Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game" at the Game Critics Awards.[22]

The game's original Japanese release was planned for February 24, 2005.[23] It was delayed for a March 10 release due to last minute changes, with Tetsuya Mizuguchi admitting to being "reluctant" to change the date and issued an apology to fans.[2] The game was later released in the United States and United Kingdom on June 27 and September 23, 2005,[1] and in Australia on November 24, 2005.[4]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 88/100[24]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 9/10[25]
Famitsu 38/40[26]
G4 5/5 stars[27]
GamePro 4/5[28]
Game Revolution B+[12]
GameSpot 8.5/10[29]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[30]
IGN 9/10[8]
Nintendo Power 9/10[31]
Nintendo World Report 8.5/10[32]
PALGN 9/10[33]

Upon release, Meteos received positive reviews from video game critics, with an 88/100 from the aggregate website Metacritic.[24] By the end of the week of September 24, 2005, the game debuted at number one on Chart-Track, having only been on sale for three days.[19][34] Chart-Track's 2005 sales report for the UK placed the game in 46th for the DS category, selling around 10,000 copies.[35] By November 12, 2006, the game sold 57,880 copies in Japan.[36] The game was compared to other puzzle games such as Tetris and Lumines, also released by Q Entertainment for the PlayStation Portable.[8][25][12][29][30][33]

Meteos' gameplay was generally praised. G4's Shane Satterfield called the multiplayer "engrossing".[27] Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell noted the issue of "scrubbing", where scrubbing the lower Nintendo DS screen quickly with the stylus would cause Meteos to link together. While not seeing it as a big deal, Bramwell described this technique as a "fundamental flaw" and would be annoying for people playing in multiplayer.[25]

A writer for GamePro felt the soundtrack was fast and too heavy on the sound effects, but thought it added to the game's pace.[28] Greg Kasavin from GameSpot described the soundtrack as "outstandingly over-the-top" and felt the game's premise justified it along with its pace.[29] Jonathan Metts from Nintendo World Report thought that fans of music would find something they like from the music selection.[32]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Meteos has received multiple awards and nominations from several gaming publications. It was named DS Puzzle Game of the Year from GameSpy and IGN in their respective awards in 2005.[37][38] It was also named Best Puzzle for the DS by GameZone.[39] It also won Best Music at the Nintendo Power Awards in 2006.[40]

The game has also been listed as one of the best Nintendo DS games on Eurogamer,[41] GamePro,[42] and Nintendo World Report.[43] It was also called one of the best games of 2005 on Eurogamer.[44] In 2005, Nintendo Power placed it as #52 for their list of the best games made on a Nintendo system.[45] In 2008, Pocket Gamer named it one of the best puzzle games for the system.[46] In 2011, IGN placed it at #71 on their list of the "Top 100 Modern Games".[47] With the announcement of the Wii U adding DS games to the system's Virtual Console, websites like GamesRadar and Nintendo Life listed the game as one of the possible additions they wanted to see.[48][49]

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2005 GameSpy Game of the Year 2005 DS Puzzle Game of the Year Won [37]
IGN's Best of 2005 DS Best Puzzle Game Won [38]
DS Game of the Year Runner-Up [50]
Game Revolution's Best of 2005 Awards Puzzle Game of the Year Runner-Up [51]
5th Annual Louie Awards Sleeper Hit Runner-Up [52]
The 1UP Awards Best Innovation Nominated [53]
Best Puzzle Game Nominated
GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2005 Best Puzzle/Rhythm Game Nominated [54]
Spike Video Game Awards Best Handheld Game Nominated [55][56]
Most Addicting Game Nominated
2006 GameZone Best Puzzle (DS) Won [39]
Nintendo Power Awards Best Music Won [40]
IGN's Best of 2005 Overall Best Puzzle Game Runner-Up [57]

Sequels and legacy[edit]

On September 7, 2005, mobile gamemaker Gameloft announced that they would be bringing Meteos, along with Q Entertainment's other puzzle game Lumines, to cell phones.[58] The game was released on March 30, 2006, under the title Meteos Astro Blocks.[59] In 2006, Buena Vista Games announced they would be publishing four Q Entertainment games, including the then unannounced Meteos: Disney Magic for the Nintendo DS.[60] A sequel to Meteos, Meteos: Disney Magic follows the same basic concept as Meteos, but makes many distinct changes, the most notable being that it features Disney characters as opposed to the various alien species from Meteos. Unlike the first game, Disney Magic was co-developed by Platinum Egg and Aspect Co.[61] The Nintendo DS would be held sideways, creating a taller playing field on the touch screen.[62] Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Jack Sparrow and Winnie the Pooh are featured as contents in the vault that hold their stories are rearranged.[63] One of the biggest changes in gameplay is the ability to drag tiles left and right, unlike the original Meteos whose tiles could only be moved up and down.[62] It was released in North America on February 22, 2007,[64] and later in Europe on June 1.[63] Meteos: Disney Magic received a more mixed reception compared to the first game, with a 74/100 from Metacritic.[65]

In 2007, Hangame released Meteos Online for PC in Japan. The game was free-to-play and offered online play for up to four players. The game was also planned for release on SoftBank cell phones.[66][67] In 2008, Meteos Wars was released for the Xbox Live Arcade. The game included a two-player versus mode and customization characters.[68] The game was originally planned for an October 2008 release but was delayed to December 10.[69][70] Two expansion packs were made for the game was made as downloadable content. The "Planet Pack" was released on January 21, 2009 and the "Galaxy Pack" on March 25, both offering nine new planets for the game.[71][72] It was nominated for "Best Family Game" and "Best Competitive Multiplayer Game" for the second annual Xbox Live Arcade Awards.[73] In 2011, Chinese developer ShangDiHui released Mini Meteors, described as a Meteos clone.[74] In January 2015, the rights to Meteos and Lumines were bought from Q Entertainment by Japanese smartphone developer Mobcast.[75]

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External links[edit]