The Nintendo survery department is at it again, this time in search of reactions and thoughts regarding last month's Diddy Kong Racing DS (and it's by invitation only, apparently, so I can't share the link). Considering that I enjoyed the original Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 (even if it was a little rough around the edges) I snapped this one up as soon as it hit stores. Unfortunately, as I just finished telling Nintendo in their little survey, I came away disappointed. Here's a snippet of my comments:
DKR DS feels unpolished and rough around the edges. The game has changed the original design by shoehorning touchscreen gimmicks into the game that don't quite work such as having to blow into the microphone to get a boost or blow out torches. In fact, I frequently get lightheaded from all the puffing, so I just don't bother to boost the hovercraft anymore. The Taj mission where I had to blow out the torches before time elapsed almost made me pass out.
But there's more. While I appreciate the new levels, why weren't they part of the main game world? The new balloon popping challenge is an exercise in frustration, as it's difficult for the DS to distinguish between trying to move the camera and trying to pop a balloon. The custom level editor (Dream Race) is a good idea, but the track is transparent against a cloud/sky background. I can't see where I'm driving most of the time. Finally, I don't like Taj's new voice. Take away his stereotypical Arabian accent and he loses his personality.
I really expected so much more from DKR DS. The Nintendo magic just isn't in this game.
Keep this kind of thing in mind if you're planning to hop aboard the Diddy Kong Racing bandwagon but have yet to do so. I completed the game, sure, but it just wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped. There is no one outstanding problem with the game, but instead it's all those little annoyances that add up to frustrating results.