DS games get a boost at off-site E3 event

  • Santa Monica (CA) - At an unofficial E3 party, we got to check out some of the independent game titles that are coming out in the next year, including a couple that push the Nintendo DS out of its rigid mold.

    The EIEIO (Expo for Interactive Entertainment, Independent & Original) event is taking place at the Hotel California, right next to the hotels that are housing Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.  

    Of the titles we saw, most are what you'd expect.  They're creative, fun, and try to bring something new and different to their respective platforms.  Unexpectedly, the platform that was most intriguing was the DS.

    First, from the start-up company Renegade Kid is a title called Dementium: The Ward.  It's a survival horror game with its fair share of blood.  That's nearly unheard of for the DS.

    What's even more interesting is how well suited the DS seems as a platform to house such a game.  We took it for a test drive and were intrigued right away.  The touch screen is used for navigation, item selection, and menu options.  It's all always there with a tap of the stylus.

    It also looks really nice on Nintendo's handheld platform, which has less power than any of the other game systems in the current generation.  It's in full 3D, and even though we just played through a short demo, some of the stuff was actually intense.  It won't be another Resident Evil (which has actually been released on the DS), but it will at least bring more life from the genre to the DS when it comes out this holiday season.

    We also checked out Insecticide, a title with a curious cross-platform release on the DS and the PC.  The PC build was too early to test out, but we took the DS version for a spin.  It's an action platformer that is in full 3D.  An opening video looked really crisp, practically at the level of a first-generation PSP game.

    Insecticide, which will come to the DS in November from Pileated Pictures, puts the player in the position of a short insect-like character who has to do everything from jumping over flowers to solving murder mysteries.  The game shakes things up by alternating between "action" levels and other levels that require more puzzle-solving skills.

    Speaking with the company's president Michael Levine, we were clued in on some of the characters' back stories, and there's enough content there to fill an entire TV series.

    The DS isn't a popular subject at this year's E3, with it being the old-timer of the group, but it seems to ring true to its original promise of being an attractive platform for independent companies.