In 2005, Q Entertainment birthed two sons; Meteos and Lumines. While they shared a mother, it was their fathers that set them apart.
Meteos was of Masahiro Sakurai’s blood, and in turn, was born the superior game. This is fact. Unfortunately, Meteos was paired with the Nintendo DS, a handheld marred by deformity and a blasé launch lineup.
Lumines cackled in its brother’s general direction. “Look at you,” it sneered, “cozying up that dud of a system, while I bathe in the light of the PlayStation Portable; the coolest handheld on earth.” The boy’s father, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, was too busy dreaming up Child of Eden to witness his son’s insolence.
“ENOUGH,” I shouted, cradling Meteos in my arms, “history will show it is you who will be the one to suck egg!”
Little did I know that A) historians don’t keep track of video game wars, and B) Meteos‘s poor timing meant it would be forgotten. Perhaps it’s time someone spoke for Meteos, teaching the world of its glory. Perhaps…that time is now.
Meteos is best described as a fight against gravity. In typical puzzler fashion, coloured blocks fall from above. Using the DS’s touch screen, players slide the blocks vertically to create matching set of three. These like-coloured blocks then burst into flames, propelling every block above it towards the top of the screen. This is where gravity rears its ugly face. Each planet (or stage if you prefer) carries its own gravitational pull. Some planets require multiple ignitions to send the pile up and away, while others require few at all. It’s super fun discovering the ‘rules’ each planet adheres to, never mind taking in the sights of its unique tile set and music.
This evolving ruleset keeps Meteos fresh at all times. It’s never as simple as just getting good, you have to constantly adapt to the playfield. It’s this spin on the ‘falling block’ genre that makes the game feel so…so…Sakurai. The man just can’t stop himself, he has to reinvent genres and blow us away with sheer volume. Meteos has all the traits of a Sakurai game; insane stat tracking, weird menus that one spends way too much time playing with, killer music, and a whacked out story (Meteos features a multitude of endings, one of which revolves around a space fork). It’s just so fast, which really sets it apart from the pack. You’re in constant motion, scratching at the touch screen trying to keep up. The screen throbs in red as the screen begins to fill up. You can be at death’s door, but as quick as it is to get into a mess, you can dig yourself out just as fast.
Meteos is a game that fell victim to timing. Released before the DS hit its stride, it never got the attention it deserved. Sakurai had yet to become as recognizable a figure, so it went without his clout. I an industry where a game only matters the week it’s released, many simply forgot. Q?-Entertainment attempted to remind us with a weird Disney-infused sequel and a remake for 360, but both lacked the spark that Sakurai brought.
Meteos certainly is one of my favourite games, and I think anyone that gives it a shot will think so too.
Side note: Lumines is a fantastic game, all ribbing is for satirical purposes only. Regardless, Meteos beats its butt.