My 5-year old son told my wife over the weekend that he would give Prey The Stars a 100% if he was reviewing it. I am not surprised by that score from him, since he has been playing it a lot since we got it a month or two ago. He really enjoys the creatures in the game, unlocking the new levels, and collecting the new costumes (skins) for each of the four different characters you can choose. The game has a nice pick up and play style of gameplay, but also can keep him entertained for multiple hours. We even had to tell him to turn it off a few times over the weekend, since he was playing it non-stop.
Now I am not sure if Prey The Stars deserves a 100%, but it is a fun game and if you have younger gamers in your house then they would probably really enjoy it. The object of the game is to play as one of the four creatures and eat things that appear in the level to gain points. At first you can only eat the small items but if you eat enough power-ups then you can eat the next largest items and finally the largest items on the screen. The concept should sound familiar to any Katamari Damacy fans out there. Also, if you eat three objects that have the same elements (water, fire, thunder, wind, and steel) in a row then you will gain special abilities that you can use to disrupt the other three creatures running around the level competing against you. Gabugabu Time can also be gained if you time your bite and lick moves correctly to gain enough perfects. Once you get Gabugabu Time you are invisible for a short period of time and able to eat objects easier and gain double the points.
Biting and licking are done in Prey The Stars by pressing the A and X buttons. Pressing them at the right time when the meter is at its peak, kind of like in a golf game, will allow you to eat the items quicker and gain perfects towards Gabugabu Time. You will need to lick fire and thunder elements to eliminate their effects to eat them easier. You can also block your opponents attacks with the L button or you can try to dodge them. Prey The Stars also takes on a fighting game style because there are three other opponents on the board that try to eat items, attack you, and gain points. So, on top of trying to eat stuff and earn points and upgrades you will also have to try to attack your opponents and make them lose points to win. Winning will allow you to progress through the game and unlock new levels, skins, and more of the story.
The skins in Prey The Stars also give you special abilities to help you win. Some of the costumes will lower one ability, but increase another, so you have to pick wisely when choosing if you want your creature to dress up like a strawberry, police car, turtle or any of the other unlockable skins. As you can probably tell, the game has some wacky and interesting character designs. The characters in the game were design by Japanese pop artist Touma, who is known for his edgy design of characters like Knuckle Bear, Boo, Baboo, and Hell Hounds that are popular in the vinyl designer toy industry. His designs work well in Prey The Stars and because they have simple lines they look good on the Nintendo DS. I think part of why my son likes the game so much is because of the characters and costumes.
Prey The Stars sound effects are okay and work well for the game but they are not super elaborate. You will here the creatures biting and licking things and alarms going off over and over. They also have sound effects for when you attack or fall off the edge of the level and all of these sounds work well in the game and seem appropriate. The music is also upbeat and entertaining, but I haven’t noticed myself singing it in my head. The only thing I keep repeating in my head is the “bamp, bamp, bamp” that my wife and I hear over and over while our son is playing the game non-stop.
Controlling all of this action is also easy to pick up in Prey The Stars, but will take some practice to master. You can mash the bite button over and over, but you won’t be as successful if you don’t try to time your bites using the golf game style meter. The game also has a big give and take part to it, where you will be winning one moment and then next you will get hit with an attack and knocked off the level and somehow you will end up in last place. Winning each level requires some skill and strategy, but also some luck. Because of this I think this is why Prey The Stars is a great game for my son and other young gamers. Younger gamers may not totally understand all the strategy behind the game, but they can also win by just eating in the right order and being in the right place at the right time. This allows them to beat levels and progress through the game after multiple tries instead of being stuck on one level where they get frustrated and don’t want to play anymore.
Prey The Stars features multi-card and single-card multiplayer action that allows you to play with up to 3 other people at the same time trying to eat the most to gain the most points. This mulitplayer mode my son also enjoys playing with all of us and it is basically the same game as above with human controlled creatures.
I like the character design in Prey The Stars and I think they are a big draw for fans of Touma and vinyl toys in general. The character design is a big factor in the appeal of the game, but the pick up and play game play with strategy, fighting, and eating mixed in helps make Prey The Stars stand out in the crowded Nintendo DS market. If you are looking for a game for a younger gamer then they should really enjoy Prey The Stars based off of my experience with my son playing the game. And, if you are in the market for a fun game for yourself with a light-hearted story, cool Japanese influences graphics, and pick-up-and-play gameplay then you may want to check out Prey The Stars too.
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