Nintendo's aim with the dual-screen, touch-sensitive DS was to encourage game developers to think in new ways about how the gamer can interact with games in the hope that this would lead to interesting new titles. The developers of Turn It Around did just that - they thought of exactly one new way of interacting with a game and ran with it.
Turn It Around is a minigame collection where all of the games are based around a single control method - that of turning. The touch screen is occupied by a wheel which can be turned using the stylus, and all of the games involve rotating this wheel. Some of the games require you to spin the wheel as quickly as you can, while other ask for a finer degree of control, but all of them are centred around this single control method.
There are 25 minigames in total, which doesn't sound too bad - right up until you remember that the only method of interaction at your displosal is turning a wheel. So, in Robo Crush you spin the wheel as quickly as you can, while in Birdman you spin the wheel as quickly as you can. In Ice Dessert, meanwhile, you spin the wheel as quickly as you can. This is opposed to Duck Boat, where, just to be different, you spin the wheel as quickly as you can, or Dragonfly Hunt where you spin the wheel as quickly as you can. Ahem.
There are a couple of appearances from classic retro games. Brick-breaking game Arkanoid makes a brief appearance, as does 1992 SNES game Cameltry (known as On The Ball in the West). These are decent ideas - rotating the wheel left and right moves your bat in Arkanoid, while Cameltry asks you to rotate a maze in order to guide a ball through to the exit - but the problem is that you only get one level of Arkanoid and one Cameltry maze.
The same is true of all the games, in fact. No matter how decent the ideas - and there are some good ones - there aren't enough to last. 25 minigames aren't enough when they all share a limited control method. That could have been mediated by having multiple levels or difficulties of the minigames that are present, but all you get here are the same 25 stunted minigames over and over again.
That this is a low budget game is obvious from the off - the text might have been translated, but the music and speech samples are all the original Japanese ones. This is forgivable - but what isn't forgivable is the low budget programming which leaves your touchscreen wheel glitchy and unresponsive. You can use the directional controls or the A and B buttons if you want, but since the touchscreen wheel is this game's unique selling point you'd have thought they'd have concentrated on getting it right.
The graphics are simple and charming, but there simply isn't enough depth or replayability to make this worth purchasing. It's too simple too shallow and too short.
So, what should you do if you find your hand straying towards this in a game shop? Simple: Turn it around.
Turn it around is a unique game by 505 games which comprises of 25 mini games. In each of the minigames you have to use either your stylus or the arrow keys to navigate the game. The games are really simple for example in the pottery game youu have to keep the plates spinning and not let them fall. In the hammer throw game you have to spin the person and release the ball so it goes as far as ppossible. In the turning puzzle you have to turn variour pieces of a picture so that it aligns with the main picture. I have mentioned just a few games.
There is a 1 player and 2 player mode. When you enter the 1 player mode you have the option to enter the challenge mode where you have to complete all 25 puzzles to win, or the free play mode where you can play any game you want and it doesn't matter if you lose the mini game.
The graphics are really good, i quite liked the cartoon aspect of the game as it made it fun to play.
You mainly have to use the stylus for this game, however i found that you actually have better control if you use the arrow keys on the nds.
The only downside to the game is that when you go to challenge mode you can't save the number of games you have completed so you have to start from new everytime. This gets slightly annoying.
All the mini games are very easy to understand and also have simple aims.
Overall i loved playing this game and found that it's simplicity and arcade style games are its main selling point. I think that this game would be great for children to play, but adults would enjoy it aswell but would get bored after a few hours of play.
About the Game
Released in 2006 by 505 Games, turn it around is a series of 25 mini-games for the Nintendo DS.
All of the games are controlled by spinning an onscreen wheel with your stylus, hence the games name.
On loading the cartridge you can choose whether to play single player or two player mode (via wifi).
After selecting single player mode you can choose to play either challenge mode or in freeplay mode
In challenge mode you have to play all 25 games to win, whereas in freeplay mode you can choose individual games to play at your leisure. Whichever games you do decide on playing the choice of games remain the same. As mentioned in the introduction, all of the games are controlled by revolving an onscreen disc that displays on the lower touch screen of the console. You can also use the A and B buttons in most games. The top screen displays the screen and your score.
Examples of some of the 25 games are -
Pottery - You must spin a potter's wheel and keep the wheel spinning at a set target speed for a period of time. If you do this then you've won, if you fail then your vase flops and its game over. I found that using the control buttons that this was an easy game to win every time.
Evil Lord - Against the clock you spin the wheel, which in turn slowly de-robes a character until they are undressed. The faster the turn of the wheel the quicker the unravelling ...
Nothing too smutty though! You have to disrobe enough characters in a limited amount of time to complete the challenge. In play I found this quite easy to complete.
Arkanoid - The classic brick and ball game. Using the wheel or D Pad you must clear a wall of bricks by repeatedly bouncing a ball against the individual bricks. This game is identical to the original though controlling your bat with the stylus can prove difficult. Fortunately you can also use the D-Pad to control the play, which is a lot easier to use, though detracts from the whole principle of the game (i.e. spinning a disc).
Duck Boat - This is a straightforward mini-game that sees you frantically spinning a wheel to make your boat (a duck!) move faster. You must complete a distance against the clock to win. I found this unchallenging and easy to complete.
Sushi - In this game you control a sushi conveyor belt. Once a customer orders food (a speech bubble shows a picture of the food that they require) you rotate the disc to make the belt move the food towards the customer. Each game you are required to deliver a set number of dishes in a limited amount of time. The game is easy to play but emphasis is on accuracy rather than speed to complete this challenge successfully.
Umbrella man - In this game you are a little man with an umbrella who is being chased by a gigantic robot through a maze of pillars. Using the wheel to control your elevation you must successfully navigate through the maze without being caught. There are also a few power ups on the way which can also help. Once again, I found this a little too easy to complete and escaped on each attempt.
Skateboard - In this game you spin the wheel to perform skateboard tricks as you skate back and for on a half pipe. The faster you turn the wheel the better trick you perform and the higher your score. The challenge is to reach a target amount of points in a given time.
I found this level frustrating as the more I turned the wheel seemed to have little effect on the tricks performed. Maybe I was spinning a little too fast for the Nintendo to track my moves?
Elevator - Using the wheel to control the ascent and descent of an elevator shaft you must pick up people and guide them to the floor that they request. The challenge is to transport a set number of people in a limited timeframe. I found this quite challenging as you have to spin the wheel quickly in the direction required but also require a level of accuracy to line up the lift with the exits.
So hopefully that has given you a flavour of the kind of mini-games that the game is based around, which are essentially all wheel spinning tasks.
In the challenge mode you must complete all of the tasks, and once each has been completed it is marked as completed and cannot be replayed until the game is over.
In Wi-Fi mode you can go head to head against a human opponent which can be much more challenging (though it depends on your opponent). A cartridge per player is required if you wish to play in this mode.
The graphics are very bright and colourful.
The majority of the artwork is cartoon themed and works well. Most of the screens and menus are busy and active and encourage a happy and sporty mood!
The menus, text and sprites are all clear and easy on the eye whilst playing.
Sound and controls
The sound has a very Japanese feel to it, and lots of the music and vocals have a definite oriental feel to them. In fact, at moments the overall flavour of the game reminded me of the popular shows Banzai and Takeshi's castle. Overall the sounds used in the game are quite bright and chirpy.
Sadly the control, which is mainly the rotating wheel, is at times unresponsive and looses track of what you are doing. This can be quite annoying, especially on the more difficult stages of challenges where you are performing your best but the console appears to lose track and doesn't' appear to keep up. Whether this is down to my poor stylus movement or the control mechanism itself is unclear. Most of the games offer alternate controls where you can use the A and B control pad buttons instead of the touch screen method. Although in the majority of the games this is an easier option it does tend to detract from the intended game play.
Mini games are generally fun, though unfortunately I didn't enjoy this game much at all.
The problems I had experienced with the control wheel, the lack of variety in game play and the overall easiness of the challenges spoilt my playing enjoyment. The better games, such as Arkanoid, are better enjoyed in their original format and some of the mini-games were a bore to play and I had no real desire to revisit.
Another downside of the game is that all of the constant wheel spinning can lead to a real wrist ache!
It is a shame as the games are well programmed and the graphics and sounds are great, the game unfortunately fell flat in the playability stakes.
Additional details, Price & Availability
Publisher: 505 Games
The game was available for £10.37 from the Amazon marketplace (www.amazion.co.uk) at the date of writing (11th August 2008).
Copyright M Jones (Otalgia) 2008
Turn It Around challenges players to master the Touch Screen turn wheel in 24 arcade- style games. All 24 mini-games in Turn It Around focus on Touch Screen turning. Players must strategically rotate the turn wheel to complete each game based on power, technique or speed.