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DS Roundup

Top trumps, crosswords, dragons, etc.

Top Trumps: Doctor Who

For those who aren't familiar - perhaps you were raised by wolves, not known for their proclivity for numerical data comparison as a form of entertainment, or are foreign - Top Trumps is a card game. It's played with special packs of cards, and there are many differently-themed sets available. You name it: cars, sharks, dinosaurs, planes, serial killers, contraceptive methods. Probably not the last two.

Each car features a different car/shark/dinosaur etc., and a set of statistics. One player picks a stat category (horsepower, for example, or number of victims, rate of effectiveness etc.) then each player reveals the card on top of their deck. Whoever owns the card with the highest number in that category wins, and gets to keep both cards. The process is repeated until one player has all the cards and the other has a tantrum.

Top Trumps: Dr Who lets you play Top Trumps electromagically, using a set of cards featuring ol' two-hearts plus assorted friends and enemies. They're all here - the cybermen, the daleks, Captain Jack, that one who turned up after Billie Piper went off to flash her Coco Hernandez all over ITV2.

This is actually from the PC version, but you get the general idea.

It's instantly familiar if you've played Top Trumps before and easy to pick up if you haven't. You hold the DS like a book and your cards are displayed on the right, while your opponent's appear on the left. Statistics include things like height, intelligence and courage. Between games characters are depicted as they appear in the Dr Who cartoon series, but the cards feature images from the TV show.

It's played in just the same way the card game, and is fun for the same reasons. The more you play, the more you get to know the cards and the better you get at picking stat categories. There are a couple of twists, such as power-up cards that increase the stats on your next card by 25 per cent. Each win tops up a meter at the side of your screen, and when it's full you can activate a 'Time Warp' that gives you a glimpse of the next three cards on top of your opponent's pile. Plus there are some mini-games, which are rather simplistic and a bit dull. Other than that, there's no difference between playing Top Trumps on the DS and playing it with a pack of cards.

Except, of course, you can play it solo. Great if you're an only child and/or unpopular, though you'll miss out on seeing your opponent's face consumed with rage as you rack up your ninth win in a row. But there is a multiplayer mode, and happily you only need one copy of the game for wireless two-player matches.

Top Trumps: Dr Who is nicely done. The presentation is of a high quality, there's enough data to please fans of the TV show and they haven't mucked about with the classic Top Trumps gameplay. It's a shame none of the modes really make the most of the fact you're playing on a DS, and grown-ups are likely to memorise the cards and find it gets repetitive rather quickly. Still. Dr Who Top Trumps!