Norimono Oukoku DS: You! Unten Shichai na You! Review

norimono-oukoku-ds-you-unten-shichai-na-youI don’t speak, read, or know a single word of Japanese beyond "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto." But, unfortunately, there are many, many, and sadly yet another many, great games that are never released outside of Japan (Mother 3 I’m thinking of you).

Fortunately for us, some games don’t need any Moon language skills to be enjoyed. One such title is Norimono Oukoku DS: You Unten Shichainayo.

First, I will say that for a DS game Norimono Oukoku DS is very impressive from technical standpoint; with a large open 3D city filled with traffic, an excellent draw distance, and a silky smooth frame rate. For what seems to be a budget title this one is very impressive. But it does still have its limitations. For one, the other vehicles are very bland and blocky and there is a lot of texture pop-in as they get closer. The city is also lacking in detail. There are very few unique landmarks to make any one road look different from another.

If you have ever stolen an emergency vehicle such as an Ambulance or a Police car in the Grand Theft Auto series you will have a pretty good idea what you’re in for. At the start of the game only the Ambulance is available. You must drive around until you get a radio call which you then answer on the touch screen. You then have to reach the destination indicated on the mini map and deliver the injured person back to the hospital in the time limit. Ok, yeah, it’s basically Crazy Taxi, but what sets this game apart is that as you progress through the game you unlock new types of vehicles, each with its own gameplay and handling.

The controls are another thing that sets Norimono Oukoku DS apart from other driving games. Each vehicle has its own dash board on the touch screen, with a steering wheel and other controls unique to each vehicle. Like sirens, opening the back hatch of the ambulance, or a loudspeaker for pulling over criminals. But the touch controls do come with some good and some bad. The good is that they are very responsive and precise. The bad is that it is very easy to lose control because you were looking at the top screen and didn't have your stylus on the wheel.

The language barrier is fairly miner. While getting through the menus can be a little confusing at first, once you’re in the game there is very little text. But, unfortunately, at the moment there are no English Translation FAQs online, so if you do run into a problem you are on your own.

Over all, if you’re an English only speaker this game will have a few frustrations but it also has a ton of gameplay variety and is a very unique experience (at least for the DS). If you track down a copy I seriously doubt you will be disappointed.

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