How can you review a "game" that you pretty much know everything about within five minutes of "playing"? In fact, how can you review a "game" that you need to use quotation marks for every time you call it a game? How can you have the need to factor in such considerations while simultaneously convincing people that said "game" is actually quite good?
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Treasure World. Read on as we attempt to give it a full and thorough review.
Treasure World (Nintendo DS)
Released: June 30, 2009
Treasure World is a game in which you use the DS' wireless capabilities to find Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Each new hotspot that the DS discovers translates into in-game treasure and currency. The treasures make their own sounds for some reason and can be arranged on a map to create odd tunes. You also have a robot that you can customize with motions and clothing that are discovered or purchased.
That is literally it. That is what Treasure World does, in a nutshell, and that's almost all it does. Within a few minutes of using Treasure World, I had played the game and knew exactly what it was. This is where the game becomes more of a thing than a game, a little ongoing project that some will find instantly appealing and some will find utterly boring.
I personally fell into the former camp. Despite the fact that Treasure World is very hands-off, there's something intangibly enjoyable about switching on the DS, setting the game to scan for hotspots, then driving around town conducting your daily business. Getting home and "polishing off those dustballs" to see what you've won just for leaving the house is a strangely compelling experience. The only problem I have with the game is that it's for kids, and since people can name their own Internet connections, I sincerely hope no small child finds the one connection that someone decided to call "Fuckball Central."
Inexplicably, Treasure World has some sort of plot to tie the treasure hunting nonsense together. A weird old man has crash landed his space ship and needs "Stardust" to refuel his vehicle. As well as treasure, you'll also be earning this Stardust from Wi-fi hotspots too, and these can be exchanged with the old man for more goodies. He also owns the "Wishfinder" robot that you get to dress up for no good reason. Apparently you're dressing it up to "disguise" it, but there's nobody else around, so quite who you're trying to hide it from, I don't know.
As far as the musical arrangements go. it's kind of like SimTunes but not as good. I'm sure with time and effort, one can struggle through Treasure World's painstaking item navigation and perform trial-and-error to get the items arranged into something resembling a recognizable tune, but for most people it won't be worth the effort. Kids will probably revel in the chance to create an irritating cacophony, however.
Those who seriously get into the game can upload their treasures to the game's Web site, and can unlock downloadable goodies by finding Web Keys gained from hotspots. I was not tempted to download the printable maze because I'm not four-years-old, but again, children will be all over that shit.
That's really where this game is aimed, of course, so we can't too harsh on its simplicity. In truth, though, even as an adult I found Treasure World to be a fun experience. It is what it is -- a cool idea, wrapped in twee chicanery and kid-friendly nonsense. There's not really a lot that can be said about it, but it's been perfectly crafted for kids and people who like feeling as if they've earned something for nothing.
And really, you can't fault it for that.
Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
reviewed by Jim Sterling