When it comes to my time spent reviewing games it’s not all major releases and triple A titles. If the games industry as we know it is going to advance and gain fresh new development talent then it’s also important to pay attention to the budget titles, for better and for worse. Admittedly half the no-name games that land on my doorstep are unheard of for very good reasons, so even if there’s only a little bit of good in it, I count that as progress. Fix it is one such game that is unlikely to offer any entertainment of real quality, but offered enough glimmers of enjoyment to not make it a complete waste of time.
No bonus points are on offer for guessing the general premise of Fix it. You play Stonewall and Brick, two aptly name builders who need to complete various building contracts in order to prevent their business from going bankrupt. The plot is fairly arbitrary but there are enough entertaining characters and moments and some of the cultural parodies are in your face and oddly charming. The dialogue is weird and childish in places but it’s light-hearted and, at its core, a bit of fun.
You complete the building jobs through a series of touch screen mini-games which change based on the task at hand. You may have to mix cement, lift a heavy object, hammer nails, screw screws. All sorts of building related tasks are on call. It’s a little bit more fun than it sounds, but you begin to find very quickly that all the games are pretty similar and lack variety. The games themselves are reasonable enough with some quite precise touch screen detection, but the difficulty curve is all over the place and the explanation of each games controls and rules is often confusing and imprecise. That said, Fix it manages to get a good pacing going on throughout. The quick fire nature of the challenges really lend Fix it that “one more go sort of feel.” It’s not quite engaging enough to the point where you won’t put it down, but there were moments when I kept on playing even though I knew I was starting to tire of the game.
The presentation managed to match my expectations in some ways and smash them apart in others. The bad news is that the swanky jazz melodies and cheap midi sound effects really start to grate the ears after a while. This is a game that you won’t mind turning the sound off for. The graphics on the whole are actually pretty stellar by comparison. In game graphics are colourful and wacky enough, apart from a few weak sprites and lazy textures here and there. What impressed me most were the proper full motion videos that top and tail each contract. This type of film sequence isn’t new to the DS, but you seldom see good quality cut scenes like this in a budget title.
The fatal flaw that really shows the budget part of this budget title is its longevity. The main story barely lasts two hours and the other difficulty modes do little to lengthen the proceedings in any meaningful way. I guess I can’t complain too much about the game’s lifespan, as the core mechanics are a little too repetitive to justify any more playtime than is offered anyway. Even if there were a few more levels, I think I’d be too bored to actually bother playing through them.
If you want a really cheap way to flick your stylus across the DS touch screen, then you could do a lot worse than Fix it. It’s no more than a mediocre title at best, but credit should go to the developers for the decent visuals and light-hearted and enjoyable aesthetics. It wouldn’t be a complete waste of time picking up Fix it, (especially if you’re a younger gamer) but you’re probably better off saving your cash for when a better title comes along.
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo DS.
reasonable visuals, has a “one more go” feel to it, vibrant characters, occasionally humorous
repetitive mini-games, not a lot of content, quite bland audio, poor explanation of game rules and objectives