Big Bang Mini

Big Bang Mini

Big Bang Mini

Not a sparkler.

Big Bang Mini ought to be one of those games your DS was made for. It's got a control system that wouldn't work on any other console. It's got gameplay that's easy to pick up and perfect for quick blasts. It's got fireworks, falling stars, flying pandas, pirate snowmen, rabbits wearing 3D glasses and a giant walrus riding on a magic carpet, who's sporting a rainbow-coloured mohican and a leather jacket. So why isn't it brilliant?

Let's start by looking at how the whole thing works. Enemies appear on the top screen, raining down missiles of various shapes and sizes. You control a small icon on the bottom screen, touching and dragging with the stylus to move it around and avoid contact with the missiles. The stylus is also used to shoot back at your enemies; you touch the screen and swipe upwards in the direction you want to fire.

The temptation is to fire away with wild abandon, confident in the knowledge you'll hit something sooner or later. Except in Big Bang Mini, you are your own worst enemy. If one of your missiles fails to make contact with an object on the top screen, it'll explode into dozens of tiny pieces. These fall right back down on top of you and they're just as lethal as enemy fire. To make matters worse, it's sudden death if you mess up. There are no extra lives or health meters. Make the slightest contact with the tiniest missile and you have to start the level all over again.

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