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Feel the Magic: XY/XX

Ah, the single life. There’s something strangely endearing about being free of a relationship. No hassles or emotional hang-ups need apply. You live through each day with the contentment of being single and quiet desperation of longing for someone to love. Sure, you’ve got your games, your books, and your movies to keep you occupied. But cooking for an empty household every night can make a person go mad with loneliness after a while. We seek out others that we can communicate with, hopefully gaining a bond of mutual trust and satisfaction. Let’s face it, some of us are getting a little too antsy, a little too obsessed with finding someone worthwhile out there. Maybe you’ll feel like you’re the only one feeling blue because you might not have a Valentine’s Day this year, or maybe you’re sick of going to the movies by yourself. But fear not, lonely people of the world. Thanks to Feel the Magic XY/XX, you aren’t alone.

How many times have you been out schooling, shopping, working, and just happened to see the most attractive person to ever grace your field of vision? Your heartbeat races, you start sweating, and if you start talking, chances are you’ll babble incoherently. You’ll likely blow the opportunity as Mr. or Mrs. Right walks away, leaving you to despair in your seemingly eternal existence as a love-inept loser. But when push comes to shove, you’ve got to take the opportunity and give life a chance. Feel the Magic takes these wonderful moments and creates a story that most of us can relate to. A young man is out having fun, when he sees the most gorgeous woman to ever walk the Earth. While this may be a slight exaggeration, it’s obvious that this guy wants some loving. He’ll do anything to get this young diva’s attention, risking his health, sanity, and even his life to make her notice him. Sure, it’s a little pathetic, but at least the kid has enough moxie to pursue this girl to whatever means necessary.

But what can this average dude do to get some attention? Walk up to her and actually speak with her? Buy her flowers? No, this digital Don Juan ignores the simple logic of approaching her. Instead, he joins the Rub Rabbits, a group that wears fake bunny ears and specializes in doing unorthodox stunts with random objects. These wannabe frat boys have plenty in store for this innocent and unsuspecting lover. They’ll have him swallowing fish, jumping out of airplanes, unicycle tightrope balancing, and dozens of other kooky mini games to make him prove his mettle. If he can prove himself to be worthy to be part of such an elite team, maybe his dream girl will be impressed with him! Okay, so he’s delusional. The only thing you can do is help him master the stunts that the Rub Rabbits set up for him and hope that he doesn’t kill himself.

Using the touch screen on the DS, you’re able to interact with the images that come up on your screen. If there’s a whole herd of wild bulls stampeding toward you, you can sooth the savage beasts by tapping them with your stylus. Another stunt has you blowing out giant candles by actually blowing air on the touch screen. Each of these mini games makes some use of the DS’s most gimmicky feature, creating plenty of fun and challenge in the process. While some of these games are a little too easy for seasoned gamers, some of the later ones will have you scrambling around the touch screen, just barely managing to make it through unscathed. At least the decent variety of unlockable modes and outfits provides enough motivation to see this game through the ending. By the time you get towards the end of the Story Mode, you’ll be praying that this guy will finally get the girl that he so rightfully deserves.

Unlike some of the other titles on the DS, Feel the Magic opts for a more simple presentation of bright and vibrant colors, ignoring realistic graphics and imagery. Instead, we are treated to a flashy show of colors and shapes, giving us the mere silhouettes of the characters as the story progresses. Despite the lack of eyes and facial features, you can still appreciate the image of the girl as she waltzes around in her skirt and trendy haircut. Even our hero sports some formidable sideburns and a signature goldfish emblem on his chest. All of the objects in this game, from the speeding cars to the giant bulls are presented in only basic shapes, giving us simple impressions of the world onscreen. While many gamers will be scratching their heads at the lack of detail, the excellent use of colors makes for a lighthearted and entertaining experience. And when you factor in the thick Japanese accents and a quirky upbeat soundtrack, it’s a fair bet that you’ll be enjoying this twisted game of love.

What will become of this epic portrayal of a young man’s quest for love? While many will consider Feel the Magic as the definitive tech demo for the Nintendo DS, this game still has its fair share of fun. It’s like an romantic comedy geared toward the gaming community. It has a story that many a lonely gamer will relate to, tons of strange and offbeat mini games to master, and a unique approach to presenting a game in a time when 3D gaming is the norm. Sure, the game places plenty of emphasis on the DS’s touch screen gimmick, but at least it executes it well. If you’re looking for a fun and lighthearted game to keep you busy, look no further than this game. After playing for a while, you’ll start to Feel the Magic working on you.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2005.

Gentle persuasion

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