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Big Bang Mini
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has mild fantasy violence resulting from shooting fireworks at cartoony characters
in the skies. Often, these characters shoot things at you, so players
must protect themselves by avoiding the fallout as they shoot back. But the main focus of the game is to create spectacular fireworks. The game's tutorial speaks of striking matches as an analogy to playing the game via the touchscreen. On reading this, kids might be curious about striking matches themselves.
What's it about?
BIG BANG MINI is a simple, addictive experience. You launch fireworks into the air via the DS touchscreen in many urban environments around the world along with some fantasy locales as well. While there's no story per se, but you can almost imagine yourself as the fireworks, hitting beautifully rendered enemies in the skies above as a pleasing soundtrack plays.
In the short tutorial, you're told that you'll easily launch fireworks by using the touchscreen and stylus as if you were a lighting match. While that's not the best analogy to use for kids, gameplay is just as effortless. During the course of about 100 levels in locales such as Hong Kong, Paris, and New York along with underwater and Halloween levels, you'll take aim at all sorts of wondrous monsters. You'll see Asian-themed waving cats, wispy ghosts,determined hockey players who shoot pucks at you, and giant bosses who aren't hard to kill. Watch out for falling sparks. If they hit you, you'll have to start the level all over again. You'll get powerups along the way, including the ability to shoot fireworks like guiding missiles so they move around obstacles in the sky.
Is it any good?
Created by a small, talented French design team, Big Bang Mini is a sleeper hit, and an artistic must-buy for anyone who enjoys fireworks with a Space Invaders and Galaga gaming twist. You may wish there were more levels that were more difficult; but that's only because you don't want the play to end. After you complete the arcade mode, you can play through again in mission mode, which asks you to complete a level within a specified period of time. It's a real challenge.
Another essential charm of Big Bang Mini is the artwork. Moving over Hong Kong, you'll witness all the sparkle and glamour of the metropolis. When the enemies appear overhead to shoot at you, you'll generally want to marvel at how uniquely they're drawn. While the game should have been longer, you'll surely enjoy this recession-priced fireworks game. After all, who hasn't wanted be the person who lights fireworks at the local Independence Day celebration?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the wild but pretty fireworks shapes you can get as bonuses. If you could create your own fireworks display, what kinds of creative shapes would you make? What was your favorite fireworks display ever and why? Did it have to do with the fireworks themselves or the people you shared the experience with?