3DS eReview: Art of Balance Touch!
by John Whitmer
I am sure Nintendo fans have been wary of the eShops selection given that other devices offer similar experiences (Vita, smart phone, tablets). I will review everything eShop; VC games, Dsiware, and most importantly 3D games. These reviews will try to make it clear what you are getting is best for your library.
Art of Balance Touch!
Progress to game completion: Halfway
Shin’en has been on a spree for the 3ds, they are one of my personal favorite developers too. Art of Balance Touch! is their latest game brought to the eShop, this was ported from the wiiware. For the relaxing puzzle lover this is a game to get! The main meat of gameplay has you stacking odd shaped blocks on a small platform without it falling in the water below. In this game you have 200 balance platforms to pass, this is double the wiiware one so it is refreshing and new. Now I am having tons of fun and I haven’t reached the new worlds yet, eight worlds in all, but I have read up that they offer new blocks and challenges compared to the older wiiware version.
The whole time playing this I kept thinking this is like a desk game you play while taking a break from work. The touch controls feel smooth, like a touch pad on a laptop, and are great for precision. Sometimes the fixed camera makes it hard to stack high but happens very little. It takes at most a couple minute to solve a puzzle, very little commitment but very rewarding. Now when I say rewarding, I mean like beating crossword rewarding. There is little pressure to this game so this isn’t a thrilling puzzle game. This doesn’t means it is bad but if you don’t like Jenga this isn’t for you.
Now Shin’en games have had problems before on 3ds, and that is lackluster 3d or even broken 3d (looking at you Nano Assault). Art of Balance Touch! not only has working 3d but probably the best use of pop and depth on the eShop. The menu selection stages have a sleek 3d with particles popping out of screen. In game the default setting(two different camera angles) has the water platform popping out and both the background and play field have good depth.
All in all, Art of Balance Touch! is fun, quick, relaxing, and pretty. While things like the achievement system fall short from being so bland and the awkward time it takes for the game to zoom in for difficult placements may take away from the game, it is a fresh experience that you should play on your 3DS.
Length Score: 9
Decent, ranging to a probably of 6-12 hours. The game rewards perfectionist.
Price/Value Score: 7
Compared to smartphone offering tons of free puzzlers, $6.99 is rather high but Shin’ens polish and content makes it well worth it.
Gameplay Score: 9
TOUCH! Is right. I personally love the touch-pad style. I loved it in Kid Icarus and Dillon’s Rolling Western and I love it here. Stacking is quick and easy and the modes can vary thanks to different blocks that have a weight limit or a time limit.
Play pace Score: 8
It has low commitment and can be played while tacking a break at work or school.
Uniqueness/Similarities Score: 6
You might see similar products every now and then on smart phones but Art of balance Touch! is an example how the 3ds can make an idea different.