DS Roundup • Page 5

Bubble Bobble: Double Shot, Bomberman Land Touch! 2, Fish Tycoon, Bleach, Kira Kira Pop Princess.

Kira Kira Pop Princess

  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Developer: Dimple Entertainment

There's a sense of hope to be felt down here, casting a critical eye over those anonymous DS releases, those ones that don't have a marketing budget the size of Belgium's GDP. We're picking through the trash in the vain hope of finding that quirky classic, and, what I ask, would be a better indicator of that dazzling 8/10-or-above than a Japanese rhythm-action game? It's a veritable goldmine, to be sure. So, bad news, then: Kira Kira Pop Princess ain't that. We cried out in hope, but it looks like the sunlight caught a dull pebble. Sorry.

As the name may indicate, the game's marketed towards the younger teenage girl side of the market, cooking up a story about a kooky avatar on a quest to become the, like, coolest dancer in town. And as is always the way, a series of hilarious misunderstandings and be-true-to-yourself social ambition leads to obligatory dance-offs in order to earn respect. To become more popular, you challenge girls from each fashion district to a bop battle, stunning them with your moves and earning money to buy new outfits.

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By focusing on dressing to impress, is this game forcing us to equate social success with consumerist spending, or do I look cute in this top?

That's where the rhythm action part comes in. Turning the DS on its side, you tap or slide the stylus along three different bars as they light up in time to the music. It's not complicated and it doesn't take long to realise when and where it wants you to tap. Perhaps it's too simple once you get the hang of it, even if doing well and getting an A ranking are two different things.

The problem with any rhythm-action game, however, is that it lives or dies on its music. Even the simplest button-matching game can be bolstered by a quality tune. But Kira Kira's efforts are a concoction of competent yet forgettable in-game compositions I couldn't even remember right after they'd ended, let alone now.

Beyond the music, the aspirational nature of the game amounts to buying new clothes and changing your style to suit your personality. There's some visual appeal in doing so due to the game's cute 3D characters, yet there's little else to do besides play dress-up. If the songs were better, it could have been a lot more fun, but it quickly loses its appeal. Like, totally.

5/10

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