Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyo

One of the highlights of last week's Nintendo London showcase, alongside the 3DS and Wii games covered for the D+PAD feature referenced below, was the lone demo pod for the forthcoming DS-exclusive Okami sequel. In a recent interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, the game's producer Motohide Eshiro explained why Capcom opted to bring the wolf's adventures to DS, and not Playstation 3: "The distinctive feature of the Celestial Brush is just screaming out to be realised on the DS touch screen, I think it's only natural that Okamiden was designed for DS." Having finally had time with the game, it's an approach that works as well as you'd expect.

Besides, each version of Okami has seen the integral Celestial Brush mechanic – the ability to draw onto the game world – take steps forward in terms of implementation, so the move to DS is consistent as much as it's logical. The Playstation 2’s acceptable analogue sticks gave way to the Wii’s excellent use of motion-control, but it’s this DS version which inevitably makes the most sense – drawing onto the screen with the DS’s stylus is as direct and pleasing as you’d hope. There are shades of the DS Zelda games in both the use of the touch screen and the cuter aesthetic (Ōkamiden is a direct sequel to the first game, in which you play as a baby wolf), and based on the brief demo presented here – in which I had to fill in a missing bridge, as well as briefly abandon our new partner, the young boy Nushi, while trying to solve a switch puzzle – I'm confident that Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyō will be just as involving and delightful as both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

Fingers crossed that UK gamers also get this lavish - and frankly amazing - Japanese Special Edition.

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