Pros: A wacky sense of humor and some catchy tunes sells Ouendan to the
Cons: The strong influence of Japanese culture and level of difficulty
What do you do
when you don't have the energy for a late night cram session or need to
finish the big race to impress your girl? Inis, the makers of the cult
hit Gitaroo Man, would tell you to shout "OUENDAN!" as loud as you can.
Osu! Tatake! Ouendan is all about providing those in need with that
extra moral boost, with your own dancing cheer squad. As soon as they
hear the call of Ouendan, the famous three set out to motivate to a
person's limit. As the player it's your job to keep the Ouendan squad on
beat so they can cheer their very best.
The concept sounds crazy
right, but the gameplay is easy to pick up. On the touch screen numbers
appear with a colored circle closing in on the number. You want to poke
the number with the stylus, but time it so the two circles are on top of
each other. If you get this perfectly on beat you'll score 300 points
and raise the spirit of your client. Being slightly off beat gets you
100 points with a smaller boost and you'll get 50 points if you're
barely on beat. Besides number tapping you'll also have to trace a ball
between numbers and spin a wheel to keep the cheer squad going. Miss a
step, the Ouendan stumble and the person you're helping will lose hope.
One thing different about Ouendan compared to other music/rhythm games
is your health bar is constantly decreasing. Tapping correctly or
drawing circles merely stops the bar from dropping so quickly. One miss
not only drains the bar further, but you'll lose more of the spirit
meter just from its normal drop rate. Because of this Ouendan is really
unforgiving. Prepare to be at your wits end, nearly ripping your hair
out as you fail a song just for missing two steps in a row. That'll
happen during the first set of stages. The final series of stories are
so tough, that most casual gamers will flat out give up and consider the
game done with.
While you're scrambling to poke everything on the bottom screen, the
top screen shows how the story is progressing. It's really the stories
that keeps Ouendan entertaining. One of the earlier stories has a
secretary trying to impress her boss so she can catch a date with him.
The other assistants mock the lass as she trips when trying to serve tea
or falls asleep at the job. That's where you and the Ouendan come in.
Move to the beat and she'll finish her reports on time and go dancing
with the boss at the end of the stage. This stage, like the other
fifteen stories, are told in parts. Each part has a check point
associated with it, if you're in the yellow part of the health meter
you'll pass the checkpoint with a happy result. If you're in the
dangerously close to failing red part, you'll fail that part of the
story. If you live on the wild side it is possible to fail all of the
check points and still pass the song. Since most players probably won't
pass all of the check points on their first run there's some incentive
to try the song again.
Out of the fifteen songs a US audience will recognize one of them.
Ready Steady Go, better known as that song from the Full Metal Alchemist
opening, makes an appearance. Following it are a bunch of other j-rock
titles like One Night Carnival, Loop & Loop and Over the Distance. The
song list is defiantly not to everyone's taste and with only one genre
of music it could be a problem. Nintendo has gone an extra mile to bring
out the aural quality of the songs. Instead of having instrumental
mixes, you've got a voice track too. We're not at CD quality audio with
Ouendan, it's more like a downsampled MP3. While it is not as crisp as
Lumines on the PSP, but Ouendan's technical quality is unmatched on the
Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is a great DS title if you're into music games
like Frequency or Parappa the Rappa. The music might not be for everyone
and there's a level of difficulty rarely seen in the rhythm genre. Yet
Ouendan is a must play game for its simplicity and comical stories. Just
try out the cheerleader battle and you'll be hooked.
By watching the game's tutorial you can easily figure out how to play
the game. Even the story and most of the humor is fairly accessible. The
story is told in manga style panels, so you'll have a good idea of
what's going on. However, if you want to get every joke you will need a
working knowledge of kana and kanji.
Even if this game did come to the US (which seems highly unlikely)
it'll be completely reworked for an American audience.
Ouendan has a lot that's "fresh" compared to other DS titles, a unique
concept and it's hilarious. Gameplay shines too, it's challenging and