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"MechAssault: Phantom War"

Blow stuff up on the go on Nintendo DS


Blow stuff up on the go

In terms of mechs (giant robots) and their appearances in video games, one of the grandfathers of such appearances is the BattleTech universe, a miniatures-based war game. The popular BattleTech universe has generated many a video game, with Microsoft currently holding the rights and having made the MechAssault game series. So it's a surprise to see an otherwise Microsoft-owned property making an appearance on a Nintendo handheld game system, such as MechAssault: Phantom War.

Unlike the strategy-oriented miniatures-based war game it's based on, the MechAssault game series isn't known for being methodical and strategic; it's shoot-anything-that-moves action, and that formula holds up surprisingly well on the Nintendo DS. In Phantom War the action takes place in more than just inside mechs --- sometimes you have to take to the battlefield in a suit of battle armor or a lowly tank. While in battle armor, however, you can hack into enemy mechs and commandeer them, a fun mechanic that's spiced up by a hacking mini-game that makes good use of the Nintendo DS's touch screen.

However, like other DS action games before it, MechAssault: Phantom War is also plagued with awkward controls. When it comes to action games, developers for the Nintendo DS just haven't gotten down that perfect control scheme yet. The graphics are also a bit of a letdown, looking barebones compared to other DS titles out there. Especially disappointing is how multiplayer doesn't support the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service to allow players to play over the Internet.

Still, despite these flaws, Phantom War scratches that itch to blow stuff up on the go, and is one of the DS's more fun titles. MechAssault: Phantom War is a Nintendo DS exclusive, and is rated T for Teen.