What could be better than a collection of 10 arcade games on the Nintendo 3DS for less than a couple of quid? “Not much surely!”, we hear you shout, but what do we really have in the 10-in-1 Arcade Collection? Is it 10 forgettable duffers or 10 addictive time wasters?
We should probably begin this review with some great disappointment: not one of these games is a genuine arcade classic. If you were expecting to relive the coin dropping days of titles like Space Invaders, Frogger, Centipede or Pac-Man then you will be very disappointed. What we actually have here is 10 simple flash games, just on the 3DS instead of your browser window. Granted, some of them do vaguely resemble the classics of yesterday and a few of them will certainly be familiar to seasoned gamers, but that can’t really hide the fact this collection is calling itself something that it isn’t. The 10 games present are selectable right from the start and it does save your high score for each one, which is quite nice.
First up is a title called Black Nightmares; in essence this is pretty much Space Invaders, but with added elements of two other arcade classics – Galaxian and Astro Smash. Hide behind the bases, shoot the enemies in their different formations (some of which dive at you Galaxian style) and collect the power-ups. After every few levels you get a bonus round that plays like Astro Smash. This game is decent enough, but a bit slow and easy.
Next up is Gem Breaker which is basically a copy of Break Out and Arkanoid. Bash the bricks with your ball, collect power-ups and move onto next stage. This is simple and fun, if a bit easy.
After two games that do kind of live up to this collection’s name we have one that most certainly doesn’t: Special Delivery. This is a really crappy platform game where you have to collect coins and grab the flag at the end. Think of this as a massively gimped version of Super Mario Bros. that fails to capture any of the elements that made the game successful. The most stupid thing in this game is that the character moves along the screen for you! Yeah, exactly.
In the fourth position on the menu is Ninja Monkey: a strange name and strange game. You are a ninja standing under an arch of some sort who is glued to the spot and can’t move. Above you in the sky are dragon-like creatures that fly back and forth dropping bombs and spiders. You can throw stars at them to kill them and some require multiple hits. If a bomb or spider reaches the ground, you lose some energy until it’s all gone and you die. Bit weird and a bit crap in summary.
Back to something you might recognise with Box Logic, which is basically a rehash of the classic computer game Sokoban. Just push all the boxes into the right positions and don’t get stuck. I have never much been a fan of this game but don’t doubt some people like it as it was certainly very successful.
Tangled Space is the closest thing you will find to a genuine arcade game on this collection. It’s pretty much just a flash version of Atari’s classic Asteroids, only dumbed down a bit to make it easier.
Game number seven is Perfect Landing and also takes its cue from an Atari arcade favourite, this time it’s Lunar Lander. The basic idea is to land your craft on the landing pad below without hitting any of the enemies in your way. Your ship is armed with a limited amount of missiles that can be used to take the enemies out. Along the way you can grab coins for bonus points. Perfect Landing is both fun and addictive, as a good flash game should be, and one of the best titles on this collection.
Remember playing Snake on you old Nokia mobile phone? You loved it right? Well you will love Saucer Room then! No actually you won’t, I lied, because while Saucer Room is a clone of Snake, it’s a really bad one. The idea is the same: collect pods and your tail grows; hit your own tail or the wall and you die. On this version the screen scrolls, and it’s really slow and incredibly dull.
Back into the realms of weirdness with Devil Maze, a simple game where you walk around the screen collecting stars and avoiding bad guys. Think Chip’s Challenge, but designed for a three year old.
The very last game on this collection is Ghost Cage, a puzzle game that plays a bit like the Sega arcade classic Columns. Simply drop the coloured ghosts into the pit and match four to make them disappear. You can’t really go wrong with the concept, and Ghost Cage is both fun and addictive.
In summary, 10-in-1 Arcade Collection offers a mish-mash of complete crap and simple fun. It’s never going to be the go-to title on your 3DS and it’s certainly not going to win any awards, but there is some fun to be had with this in small doses – and the low price point certainly bumps the rating up a notch. If you’re bored and want a simple game to pass a few minutes, you can’t really go far wrong.