Nintendo’s Kurikin: Nano Island Story caught me off guard. I’ve heard of it before, but there is so little information about it I wasn’t sure what to expect. The game begins in a school where a teacher explains that there are microscopic creatures called kins on the island and the Nintendo DS, abbreviated to NDS, is a Nano Data Sampler. Kurikin: Nano Island Story has its roots in collecting games like Pokemon and the cutesy fictional microorganisms probably don’t do much to delineate the two titles in the eyes of gamers. But Kurikin: Nano Island Story probably has more in common with a stylus controlled real time strategy game than a turn based RPG.
Duals in Kurikin: Nano Island Story take place on a petri dishes and your cluster of kins are on the top left hand corner of the screen. The goal of the dual is to eliminate your opponent’s kins or have more kins than your opponent before time runs out. Your kins automatically divide and if you leave them alone they will grow on their own. However, you don’t want to passively watch your garbage can-like Gomisukins grow, that’s boring. Here’s where the real time strategy part comes in. You can draw a circle around a group of kins on the touch screen then draw a line to where you want them to go. If you bring them close enough to the other player’s ant-like Burigokins your kins will start attacking. You can zoom into watch the battle or peek on the top screen for a closer view of the fight. The key to winning battles is micromanaging your kins. If you leave a small group out of the fight they will continue to divide, which lets you reinforce your microbe army. Also you want to make sure your kins smoothly encircle your opponent’s kins so you attack from all sides.
Each kin has its own stats like how much HP, attack and defense they have. They also have environment preferences such as pH (acidic, alkaline or neutral) and temperature. Before you get in a match you’re told about the petri dish conditions so you can plan accordingly. You’re going to want a diverse selection of kins, but you don’t collect new kins by capturing them in battle. Instead you extract samples from the environment by tapping the touch screen with an eyedropper. If you touch the ground you’ll get one kind of kin, but if you poke right on a backpack you may discover a different an uncommon kin. A neat system and there are some pictures of the different kins for you to see later on.
A major warning to those thinking about importing Kurikin: Nano Island Story it isn’t import friendly at all. There is way more text with directions about where to go next than there are battles. So if you’re expecting to jump in Kurikin: Nano Island Story without being able to read any Japanese you’re probably going to be lost. Nintendo has been pretty good about localizing their first party games lately so let’s hope for an announcement at E3!
Check out what some of the kins look like on the next page.