Thirty years ago a company was formed in Hiyoshi, an area of Yokohama in Japan. This company was formed from the collapse of a rural dyestuffs business, and the company that was formed has now become a worldwide success, known for medieval games and fighting games. This company is Koei. To celebrate this, Koei have released a new game titled Prey the Stars: Gabu Gabu Planet.
The basic premise of this strangely titled game is that the in a world similar to ours, dog-like aliens have crashed landed into earth, and these Gabus are hungry. The Gabu will eat everything and anything in their way, and the objective of the game is to make sure that the player's Gabu manages to get the most points from eating random objects from apples to globes. On the circuit where the Gabus are eating, the player is able to rid themselves of other Gabus by either attacking them, or knocking them off the side of the playing field.
Towards the start of the game, the Gabu is only very small and struggles to eat eggs, radios and drinking cans. The more levels and items that are collected, the larger the Gabu becomes until they can start eating things that are ridiculously sized - such as houses, stadiums and ponds. Whilst these new items become available to eat, the Gabu must also make sure that their spirit metre is full. Eating the same kind of item three times in a row does this, and once three things have been eaten a special ability will become available. These special abilities vary from being able to eat faster to shocking the other players.
Although not all food is available to eat immediately, most items of food are considerably larger than the Gabu, but some things are just too large for them to eat immediately and they need to eat special cakes that increase the player's size and ability to eat. Eating is not the only part of the game; there are other elements such as protection. The player has to protect themselves by collecting different elements such as water or fire, and then using the X button to attack the enemy.
Throughout the majority of the time, the player will be concentrating on one screen which is controlled by the D-pad. The controls themselves are very simple, forwards, backwards, left and right. Press the A button to eat the food, and the X button to defend. This basic control scheme makes the title very accessible and easy to use; however, to add a little diversity, Gabu Gabu Panic occasionally occurs. This utilizes both screens by having a map on the bottom screen and the action on the top screen. This isn't really that great as it doesn't actually use the touchscreen very well, although there were various ways that it could be improved.
There are multiplayer challenges, which are along the same line as the actual game itself. One of the best things about Prey the Stars is that the multiplayer actually has online play access. This is a seeming rarity across many DS games that have come out recently, and this online access increases the game's appeal greatly.
The graphics are top notch and everything has a fairly comicbook/Japanese style look to it despite being created in Canada. The graphics are all sharp, colourful and rich looking. At no point do the characters blend into the backgrounds, none of which feel like they are repeating. There's a lot of detail on the food as well, to the point where one can actually see countries on the globe. Audibly, the game sounds great: lots of good sound effects, and some great music that will burn its way into memory.
Final Verdict - 7/10
Prey the Stars: Gabu Gabu Planet is a great platforming game that is simple to pick up, looks great and plays well. It does feel a little repetitive after lengthy play, but with online options and multiplayer options the game can be picked up at any time for a quick laugh.