Recently I played through Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions on the 360 and enjoyed it. We also received the Nintendo DS version of the game. I was expecting an inferior experience from that of the console game but instead got a very fun 2D platformer that packs quite an entertainment punch.
Shattered Dimensions on the DS
So as most of you know, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is about Mysterio and the Tablet of Chaos and Order that was smashed into fragments when Spider-Man caught Mysterio stealing said tablet. When it fragmented, the threads of reality across multiple dimensions became at risk, so Spider-Man from the Amazing, Ultimate, 2099, and Noir dimensions were tasked by Madame Web to retrieve the fragments and restore order.
In the DS version, for whatever reason, the Ultimate version is missing. As disappointing or as odd as that may be, it shouldn't keep you from reading on or checking out this game if you enjoyed the console versions, like Spider-Man, or enjoy a fun 2D platformer.
While the DS versions shares the same story as its console counterparts, the gameplay is much different. Instead of a third person action adventure game, the DS is a 2D platformer with an excellent balance between fighting and platforming. The lower screen is your map, and it's a very helpful map at that. Each area in your upper screen (i.e., a room, although usually not bound by doors), is represented with a square in the lower screen. Squares in the map can have one of several icons to represent their state. Most are blank, indicating they are simply an area -- but others will appear different to indicate optional or important points of interest. Map icons include Spider-Man's current location, where you need to go, portal rooms, item rooms, save points (which also fill up your health), and rooms with items you have yet to discover. Often, the map is larger than the lower screen, in which case you need to only scroll the bottom screen around with your finger or stylus to see the rest of it.
The upper screen is where the action is. Spider-Man attacks with Y, jumps and web shoots with B, web zips with A, and interacts with X. The L and R buttons have special functions as well that you unlock as you play. These functions include being able to see hidden objects, destroy certain Mysterio-created walls, and glide. Not all of these abilities are readily available to all three Spider-Men, but a big part of the game is actually transferring these abilities between the characters, which actually works out rather well. The console version of the game could have benefited from something like this, actually. As for the R button, it is used to dodge, once you have found that unlockable item. The stylus is used in between level jumps in a quick mini-game to bridge the gap between playing as one dimension and another.
The controls on the DS work very well. About the only trouble I had was with some of the gliding and Spider-Dash sequences. Spider-Dash, as well as the Hammer and ability to web zip along electrically charged walls, are abilities that you earn at certain story points. All upgrades like this and plot developments occur after defeating a boss. The boss fights are nicely done and are both challenging and fun. The villains you encounter actually differ from the console version too, at least in some cases. You will face Silvermane, Calypso, Vulture, Electro, Boomerang, and a couple of others throughout the story.
I was kind of surprised at how the game reuses levels that players were previously in, too. In other words, you start off playing as Amazing Spider-Man, then Noir, then 2099. When you revisit each of these (which occurs at scripted times, you are not able to choose as you could in the console version), you're actually in the same area but there is more to explore and different types of enemies. It works pretty well, especially considering how previously inaccessible areas open up as you play through the game and unlock more powers.
The campaign itself is pretty short, maybe 5-6 hours, but afterwards, you can replay Challenges that were unlocked and go back and revisit an areas that you need to collect all of the items. Frankly, the game is fun enough that even though the story is linear, I can see myself replaying this one again someday.
As for the presentation, it's great. From the opening introduction voiced over by Stan Lee himself to the nicely animated graphics, Shattered Dimensions on the DS looks and sounds great. The game has a lot of character to it, and for what it's worth, I found Spider-Man's humor a lot funnier here than on the consoles. There isn't much of a soundtrack, but what is there is nice.
With that, let's get to the summary...