Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Takes Over my DS

If you've ever seen Japanese import Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Show, starring J-pop duo Puffy (Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura) and their cartoon selves, taking on bad guys while rocking the house, you'll understand my excitement to play Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: The Genie and the Amp (for Nintendo DS) when I came across it last week in the discount bin at Superstore. Not because I thought it would be especially well-designed or particularly challenging, but because--having seen the show--I knew this would be one heck of a bizarro game. And boy am I ever not disappointed.

Switching between Ami and Yumi, and with the aid of a watch-your-copyright-infringement genie, you set out on a time travelling adventure to find musical inspiration by wacking creatures and musical geniuses with an electric guitar. You accomplish said wacks by churning out tunes on 5 guitar strings, which you can also "strum" into chords using your stylus. The "bad guys" are a motley crew, following in the theme of each location and time period. So, for Japan circa "the day before yesterday", I had to fend off 2D arcade karate very postmodern....and in 1994 Slovenia, it's all skeletons and vampires. Another level features garden gnomes, but I don't really get why. There's a LOT I don't get about this game, which is what makes it so fun. Each level has special guitars for the girls and millieu-appropriate outfits you can buy in vending machines dispersed throughout the game. But even better than that is collecting ingredients for sushi, which you then get to roll yourself between levels. I can now see why Cooking Mama is such a massive hit - cutting virtual fish to make sushi rolls is surprisingly satisfying.

You can check out the trailer here or read the Gamespot reviews here.

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