Project Rub Nintendo DS
Developed by Team Sonic
Release Date: Out Now
Before the release of the GameCube few could have predicted how important SEGA would have been to Nintendo. The once mighty rivals are now the best of friends and SEGA have bought some innovative and very enjoyable games to Nintendo's console. I still rate the Super Monkey Ball games as some of the best on the GameCube and when you factor in Skies of Arcadia Legends and the Sonic games it's fair to say that SEGA have done Nintendo proud. Today sees the release of the Nintendo DS handheld console and once again those creative geniuses at SEGA have created a title that not only takes full advantage of the new console but is also quite unlike anything we've seen before.
Project Rub (known as Feel the Magic XY XX in the US) offers a simple story of boy meets girl and feels he has absolutely no chance of being her boyfriend due to her being not only beautiful but also very intelligent and with him being just an ordinary boy, who no one in their right mind would give a second glance. All is not lost though as our confidence challenged hero is about to receive some assistance. The leader of the Rub Rabbits has given our young man a chance to win the affection of this seemingly perfect girl. He'll have to do all manner of things to win her heart and you're going to help him in his bid for love.
Project Rub offers a Story mode and a Memories mode which essentially allows you to replay the games you've already encountered in Story mode. There is also a Maniac mode where you can change the appearance of the girl. You can collect parts by touching the Hidden Rabbits that sometimes appear in the main game. Having certain SEGA GBA games in the GBA slot of your DS when you begin the game will also unlock numerous items. What you'll have to do in Story mode of course is to win the girl's affections. You'll do this by completing mini-games. Completing mini-games will not only make the game in question available in the Memories mode but will also earn you Love Points. Love Points are important and when you accumulate 100 of them the story will progress. Should you fail at a mini-game though, you'll lose Love Points which will mean more games have to be played to earn the necessary 100 total.
The game is all about mini-games and in Project Rub you'll be playing mini-games you would have never thought possible. You'll have to rub goldfish out of a member of the Rub Rabbits stomach, blow on the touch screen to put out candles, touch stampeding bulls to prevent them hurting your desired lady and hit numbers on the virtual keypad to make a parachutist's parachute open in time and much, much more. The games have several stages which become progressively more difficult although most should not take more than a few attempts to master them. Surprisingly speech is needed in a game called Microphone. However this is not as awkward as you might think (more on that later).
Visually Project Rub is a striking game. The graphics have a certain simplicity about them but it's stylish rather than basic and works really well. The characters are silhouette-like in appearance with physical characteristics kept to a minimum. The presentation of the game is very impressive and it's obvious a lot of thought has gone into the look and layout of the game. What is worthy of a mention is the effective use the game makes of the dual-screens. Some DS games aren't really making a great use of the two screens with one screen simply providing information. Project Rub actually needs you to look at both screens virtually all of the time and it's very impressive. Team Sonic really have managed excellent use of the DS, which is impressive given that the game is a launch title.
We mentioned in our review of Zoo Keeper how the Nintendo DS might cause deaf gamers a few problems because of the included microphone which allows developers to create games that can take advantage of verbal inputs from the gamer. Zoo Keeper doesn't require any kind of verbal input but Project Rub does. Earlier in this review we mentioned a game called Microphone that needs you to grab the girl's attention by calling her by talking loudly into the microphone on your DS. Obviously this might be an issue for certain deaf gamers. Fortunately though you can blow into the microphone and it works just as well (I prefer it to be honest). In every other way though, the game is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. There's also another game, called Dance, where you have to respond to audible directions from the girl. This could be a problem but thankfully the directions are shown too so you'll be able to play the game without any problems. The story is relayed through text only so you'll be able to follow it. The game has occasional snippets of speech when a mini-game begins but it's nothing important. Project Rub includes the ability to record your voice for 1.5 seconds and this recording will then loop on the main screen with the game music. Obviously this isn't going to be of interest to deaf gamers but it's not an important feature anyway.
Out of all of the launch titles I don't think any game can claim to utilise the Nintendo DS functions as comprehensively as Project Rub. SEGA have created a game that manages to showcase ever feature that's on offer with the exception of the wireless multiplayer capabilities. The only downside is that the game isn't going to take that long to finish. That said though the innovation and creativity that Team Sonic have shown in Project Rub make it a great game to pick up for your new Nintendo DS and it will certainly make you appreciate just how different this new handheld console is.
Overall Game Rating: 8.3/10
A new platform needs games that showcase not only the console but also the developers' talent to fully exploit it and that's exactly what Project Rub is. The game is on the short side but there's so much creative thinking gone into the game it's impossible not to appreciate the creative genius of it.
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
There aren't any problems for deaf gamers. Although one game needs you to talk into the microphone, thankfully you can get around this by simply blowing into it.