Prey the Stars: Gabu Gabu Planet DS Review

Games based on eating things are nothing new, one of the original all time classics, Pacman, was all about eating, but that was on a small scale, Prey the Stars : Gabu Gabu Planet takes things to a whole new level. This time it’s not a case of eat or be eaten, but it’s all about competitive eating, but unlike the ridiculous eating competitions that are so popular in redneck USA, you have to be careful your fellow competitors don’t take a chunk out of you.

The story to the game is simple, you control a large dog like being who has been created purely to eat, there’s a bit more to it than that, but it’s all just an excuse to hang level after level of eating action on, so we won’t dwell on it. The basic premise of the game is just to eat more than your opponents, but there’s a lot more to it than that. In single player mode you’ll start off small, playing in an arena of general foodstuff, and you can only eat the small items, such as eggs, strawberries and the like. But before long the power ups will start dropping in, these come in the form of blocks of cheese in the first level, and the more you eat of them, the quicker you’ll grow, allowing you to eat larger items. You’ve got a lot more tricks up your sleeves than simple growth, all your foodstuffs have attributes, and if you eat three of the same in a row you get a power to use, and these are plenty and varied.

Yep, you eat the right combination and there’s some devastating powers at your disposal. Some are less impressive than others, but there’s a good range: steal an opponents power, absorb their size and points, bomb them, shock them, and all sorts of useful abilities. These make the game interesting, and are a lot like the power-ups found in Mario Kart – using the right power at the right time can take you from bottom of the board to first place. This is great, as it avoids feelings of total hopelessness you might get with other games if you were losing badly, there’s always hope of snatching victory.

You have one last trick up your sleeve too, by performing perfect eating of objects you have a meter that fills up, and when full you can eat things in one bite. Performing a perfect eat is quite easy, just press the bite button when the marker is in the green on a gauge, the amount of green on the gauge is dependant on the size of the item you’re eating, the smaller the item, the more green on there. The attribute system also means some items aren’t so easy to eat, fire, lightening and water types all have to be licked to ingest them efficiently, and when you do you can then suck the spirits they release. You’re probably thinking by now that this is more of a multiplayer game, and that the single player wouldn’t have much to offer, but you’d be wrong.

Yes, the game is most definitely better as a multiplayer game, but the single player game does have quite a large amount of content and challenges to keep you occupied. To start with there are eleven levels of ever increasing difficulty to play through, all with a nice theme, and each level is on a bigger scale than the one before. These will take you through shopping centres, fun fairs, under the sea and in the air before, on level eleven, you’ll end up in outer space eating planets and stars, so you start off small, but end up big. Once you’ve played through all eleven levels you then unlock challenge mode, which gives you a dozen challenges per level to complete, some of these are quite easy, like eat so many of a certain item, but others can be quite a challenge, so should keep you interested for a while.

There’s plenty to unlock too, with three other monsters to get, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. And there’s a ton load of skins for your monsters to unlock too, some match the themes of the level, others don’t, but they all alter you’re monsters abilities to some degree.

But, as much as there is to the single player game, multiplayer is where it is really at, and the game is very well equipped with options for this. If you have friends with the game, great you can all play together on the full game. But if not, all is not lost, there is also single card play, which is a bit more limited but still fun all the same, and you can always take the game online via Nintendo’s wifi connection. This game really does shine in multiplayer though, it’s manic and lots of fun, maybe not on a Mario Kart level, but still with a lot to offer. It’s cute and colourful, the supposed monsters you control would look right begging for a bone at your heels, and the varied themes the single player game has look, and perform, great. It’s a bit of a quirky game, but that really works in its favour.

You get a great little game here. Despite it being developed in Canada, it’s another one of those funky Japanese games that end up highly underrated. And that’s what has happened here, this game isn’t fantastic, but certainly will hold your attention for a while, through a mixture of compulsive gameplay, and energetic atmosphere brought on by the games fantastically manic tunes. You can’t go far wrong if you fancy a multiplayer game.

7 out of 10
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