The DSi Shop was never as glamourous as the eShop. Belonging exclusively to a physical iteration of the DS was just the start of its problems, with its layout and speed remaining an issue throughout its life. But, flying in the face of all this drama is the fact that good games remain! I’m not here to just tell you what the ‘Top X DSiWare Games That’ll Rock Your Butt’ are (someone else took care of that), but instead I thought I’d share some of the more obscure titles. They are still top notch, and I’d put them against your Shantae‘s any day of the week, but maybe you just never heard of them. Maybe some dope DS game came out earlier that week and you never thought to punish yourself by loading up the DSi Shop.
Let’s kick this thing off.
Maestro! Green Groove by Pastagames, $4.99/500 Points
Now this is a treat for rhythm-action fans. Developed by the folks at Pastagames (Arkedo Series – Pixel, Pix’N Love Rush), Maestro is a musical platformer, comparable to HarmoKnight. It does everything right as far as my preferences for the genre, a highlight being Maestro employs one mechanic throughout its entirety. As opposed to something like Rhythm Heaven which is several mini games all using different mechanics, Maestro delivers a single mechanic that grows as you play. As Presto, that pink bird you see up there, players strum and tap the touch screen in tune to the music. The soundtrack is composed of interesting takes on classical music, which sits with me better than an all original arrangement that may have its fair share of clunkers. Presto is constantly in motion, with the player controlling his path by swiping the strings he runs on. Collectible fruit litters the path, but there’s also strings to strum in time with the music, as well as enemies to tap. It works wonderfully, and the difficulty ramps up quickly; Pastagames clearly doesn’t want you to butcher the works of Beethoven and get away with it. As lovely as Maestro‘s soundscapes are, its visuals are just as arresting.
Glow Artisan by Powerhead Games, $4.99/500 Points
When browsing a digital games store, there’s certainly no shortage of puzzle games. While you’re drowning in a sea of ‘match three’ puzzlers, grab hold of Glow Artisan and it will pull you back to shore with its rippling, tanned muscles.
Glow Artisan manages to take something as simple as color mixing, turn it into something complex, but still keep it fun as all hell. On the top screen, players are presented with a 5×5 grid of coloured squares. Using the touch screen, the player is asked to recreate that image. By sliding from left to right and top to bottom, the player creates a row of coloured boxes. You are able to choose the colour, and by overlapping one with another, create a new colour altogether. Where things get complex is when the erase tool is thrown into the mix. The collection of squares you’re attempting to duplicate will have empty spots on its grid, you achieve this by use of the erase tool. What’s tricky is that you must erase an entire row or column, so that particular empty spot on the grid takes some special planning. Where and when you place your row becomes a science, and the game’s difficulty ramps up immediately. It’s insanely complex, but there’s just nothing else like it. As hard as it is, the game pulls at your logical and creative sides so perfectly that you can’t help but fall into that ‘just one more try’ syndrome. If you think I’m crazy, know that Nintendo saw the quality in Glow Artisan as well, allowing Powerhead Games to participate in the ‘Developer Showcase’ portion of WarioWare DIY.