It seems like with every generation, we’re introduced to a new, mind-blowing aspect of functionality in the gaming medium. For the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was the Power Glove, and R.O.B. The SNES introduced the Super Gameboy, and thus, inter-console connectivity. The Sony Playstation, along with the Sega CD, ushered in compact disc playback, and the Playstation 2, Xbox, and Dreamcast introduced us to the world of online console gaming. The lovable portable touch screen device, Nintendo DS, has ushered in a new era of portable wi-fi compatibility, and so far, it’s done an excellent job.
Treasure World seeks to bring this concept one step further. In the illustrious realm of Treasure World, every single wi-fi hotspot in the world is a potential trinket for you to acquire. You can literally stroll through the local park with a DS in your pocket and return home to find “Starbucks” treasures waiting for you. Read on to find out if the gameplay is fun enough to back up this enticing mechanic.
First things first! If you happen to be a recluse or a shut-in, this game is not for you. Treasure World will require you to leave the house, which incidentally, is rather convenient due to the fact that the Nintendo DS is a portable system.
Despite the cool concept, any plot this game may have is throwaway in nature. A craaaaaazy mysterious scientist crash lands on a planet with his robot-like assistant. In order to get back into the air, he requires star dust fuel, which is essentially nabbed by “sucking up” local wi-fi connections.
Treasure World allows you to choose from an array of character models. In fact, your character is actually a robot of sorts, who needs to disguise himself and blend in with the rest of the world. Clothing styles range from classical to modern, and it even include different animal costumes, anime character getups, and sports outfits. From Anarchy “A” T-shirts to Gundam robot suits, Treasure World is sure to meet the needs of obsessive avatar enthusiasts everywhere.
The game’s various rewards also include objects in addition to clothing. You can place objects in your world and interact with them. Each and every reward has a unique sound, from citar plucking to drum and bass. By layering them in a grid-like fashion, you can create and record your own musical masterpiece.
By touring a hotspot, you’ll randomly either grab some spare stardust and/or a gift in the proccess; sometimes you’ll even nab a rare object. While the game encourages you to visit libraries and coffee shops, and will actually display the name of the wireless network being picked up, you won’t get brand name merchandise when you opt to collect your treasure, which would have been a neat tie-in and increased the immersion factor.
Another really cool function is the Club Treasure World online link capability. Your DS game will give you a unique code to input on www.clubtreasureworld.com in order to connect an online account with your portable world. You’re also able to use a local and wi-fi connection to trade treasures with other people.
The real world area and situation that you happen to live in also could contribute to your overall fun factor with Treasure World. If you’re scared to go outside, or your parents forbid you to leave the house, you won’t have very much fun. In an apartment complex, however, I was able to find loads of local hotspots, and I didn’t have to look like a huge nerd looking for them!
All you have to do is close your DS while you’re in star search mode, stick it in your pocket, and you’ll be able to pick up any local wi-fi connections. In fact, you can take it with you on the drive to work, or the next time you go on a trip; it’ll pick up every signal you come across and reward you for it. There are even neat little caveats that I found like “2PM stars”, or other time sensitive events.
When all’s said and done, however, you’re still standing in the same exact room and a rather small room at that. Literally, you’re introduced to everything the game has to offer in mere minutes of booting it up. As a result, advanced simulation fans might find this as a bit of a turnoff.
At the very least, Animal Crossing fans who love to travel will want to pick this up. Even though some of the themes are child-like in nature, anyone can enjoy the simple positive reinforcement gained from simply going on a walk and gaining in-game items. Despite the fact that the experience itself is a little bare-bones, Treasure World’s encouraging words of “go out and explore!” are certaintly a fresh new take on the gaming world as a whole.
The FMV sequences are very well done, but the in-game graphics range from smooth to shamelessly 8-bit. For some reason a lot of the treasures look very pixelated; its hinted that it's for nostalgic purposes, but they're still sloppy looking.
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Honestly, the game pretty much plays itself. Outside of creating your own music garden and dressing up your character, you're given a small amount of room to work with.
You can make your own music, and change the tone of your instruments, but the actual scale is limited.
Every time you go on a trip, head to your local coffee shop, or even talk a walk, you'll be tempted to bring Treasure World along.
Treasure World takes a grand concept and turns it into a reality, despite the fact that it's not really so much a game as it is an activity.