At the risk of dividing by zero, I must admit that Reset Generation: For the Love of Gaming is ... a great pick-up-and-play N-Gage game. Before you conclude that my career in games writing is done, hear me out.
After winning a few tutorial matches and then getting destroyed online, I came to realize two things. One: I really suck at this game. Two: When a developer says that their game is "Easy to play but hard to master" it makes me want to shove my hands into their mouth and punch their genitals from the inside. RG, however, is an exception. Their genitals can bask in the sun. I wouldn't throw Chad's grandmother to the floor over it, but its a rather polished and retro-themed mobile phone crack addiction.
I was sucked into this addictive turn-based puzzle game by Themis Group (the Escapist people), who is holding a game journos tournament today where I will be facing off against Cashwhore's Chris Hudak (aka Grinning Ghost), who at the time of this article already killed 25 other players and will surely lay my bumbling carcass to waste. If I lose, I will give away my shiny new Nokia N-81 phone to a Dtoid reader in an upcoming contest. If I win, I will keep the phone and continue playing this game and get nothing done. So, let's give it up for Hudak! Send out your cries of hatred for me!
The game is cross-platform, so you don't have to own a side-talking device to try it: Hit the full story to play the Java version and some hands-on impressions.
Reset Generation borrows from various classic game formats, so its tough to describe its genre: there's a bit of puzzle, platform, and strategy in there. One could generalize it as a turn-based capture-the-flag game at the core: You must drop Tetris-inspired puzzle pieces to construct a bridge to the castles of other 2-4 players on the board. To win, you must then move your character across your tiles, capture their princess, and bring her back to your abode for a touchdown. Sounds like a breeze, doesn't it?
Wait until you find out how much you'll suck at this.
Here's where it gets tricky: Your tile-dropping can crash against each other in a stalemate if you choose the same placement. You can also thwart your opponents by firing bombs from your castle and use warp pipes and jet packs to scoot around the map. Each character class in the game also has special super moves, so what worked in one round may backfire on you in another. There is also a fair amount of combat involved: The more health items and tiles you match in a row (5 for a combo) the more likely you can man-handle your enemies. You can also throw the entire rule book out the window by finding a grenade and killing your enemy, causes their princess to catapult directly into your arms. It gets worse: There are squatting rules, random in-game events, and enemy pigs, frogs, wolves, chickens, and Pandora's boxes. Pretty deep for a casual mobile game.
Multiplayer works quite well, even on mobile phones. For some odd reason, I cannot get my bloody phone to acknowledge by burning Wi-Fi adapter's existence yet, but I've been
playing losing to 14 year olds on AT&T's ghetto-fabulous Edge network without any lag. In addition to 4-way head-to-head pick up battles you can also create friend lists, play a classic arcade mode, and a guided story mode. The game is cross-platform, so PC players can play against mobile phone players.
While flipping through the promotional materials I noticed that it bills itself as "The world's first videogame about videogames", which I'll leave up for debate. Don't expect any quizzes on Super Mario Brothers: What is more accurate is that RG is the first game to take many popular video game cliche and package them into playable characters and tongue-in-cheek humor as the core of the production. The jokes seem to be hit or miss, but overall I'd say they got it right. It's not Strongbad, and that's ok.
Semantics aside, I must applaud RedLynx for all the inside jokes they've packed in here. The player classes include a plumber with broken English, a sassy Hedgehog, an air-headed level 50 elf, an angry ninja, a conflicted Sci-Fi heroine, and items like the Biggest Frickin' Gun Possible (BFGP). In this sense, Reset Generation does taste just like good old home cookin' for old-school gamers.
The sound work in Reset Generation is also quite notable. With the exception of the voice of the princess (she's trying too hard) you should get some near-laughs. I'm a big fan of the announcer voice, which reminds me the guy who says "GET READY!" from the classic Sega game Space Harrier 2. If you're a chiptunes fan, the soundtrack alone by 8-bit Weapon is worth the price of admission.
If you have an N-Gage compatible device, check it out. I'll be online tonight looking for match-ups: add me to your friends list as "Destructoid". See you on the battlefield!