NintendoSpin recently received a preview build of Elastomania DS, a racing/puzzle hybrid game from Russian developer Mobirate. The preview build featured one level and six arenas, providing a good taste of what to expect from the title.
Elastomania DS has you steering a motorbike through an arena full of obstacles and dangerous falls. Your objective is to collect a few star objects scattered about the level as quickly as possible without falling victim to the stage’s perils. Besides the motorbike, you have a grapple that can be used to grab the star objects as well as to pull yourself up to higher platforms and to swing.
The controls are pretty simple, but some of the button placements are questionable in this preview build. You don’t use the stylus for this game, you use the dpad to steer your bike. The A button is the gas button for the motorbike, while the Y button shows you where the closest star object is located. The left trigger is a quick turn button, while the right trigger button is the grapple hook. The X button resets the level, and while having a reset button is good, having it as a face button might not be a good idea. The upper screen shows an overview of the arena, while the bottom screen displays your racer.
The gameplay took a little bit of getting used to, especially the floaty bike physics, but once you are accustomed to how your vehicle reacts to the environments, you’ll start racing through them and pulling off big jumps while collecting star items. You always have to be mindful of how your bike bounces and reacts to environmental objects, since approaching a wall or obstacle at the wrong angle ends your game. The grapple mechanic is also something that becomes very useful once you get the hang of how it reacts with the environments. As mentioned earlier, the grapple can hang onto some objects to allow you to swing or pull yourself up.
The graphics in Elastomania are rendered in 3D with 2D backgrounds, and all the arenas in the preview build were set in a desert stage. Considering the somewhat limited3D capabilities of the DS, developer Mobirate has done a decent job with the visuals. Sound effects for the motorbike were present in the preview build, while background music was not.
While the preview build had a few bugs, it also demonstrated quite a bit of potential. By tightening up the somewhat floaty controls and reassigning some of the buttons to make the experience more intuitive, Elastomania DS can be a promising and innovative title. Publisher ND Games expects Elastomania DS to ship sometime in Quarter 2 of 2009.