Sorry I haven't been sprucing up the Magazine Reviews section here lately, school + video games have been getting in the way, as well as my conflicting thoughts about games. So, I've finally decided to write another review to get back on the horse. This review isn't any big game (I was going to do Spirit Tracks, but I'm not far enough to give an accurate review), but it's definitely worthwhile. Sideswiped, something that will go down as a DS sleeper smash hit, is on the chopping block! Hey, do you remember Burnout Revenge for the DS? If you don't, stand up, kneel down, and pray whatever otherworldy being that you haven't. Burnout Revenge honestly needs a Burnout Avenge because it was fucking horrible. It gave me chronic diarrhea. We all thought that Burnout on the DS would be awesome, but it wasn't. So, Sideswiped comes here a few years later toting to do what Burnout couldn't, and pulls it off with great success. As I said before, it'll definitely be looked upon as a sleeper. It's the dark horse of the year and possibly of the DS. Firstly, the game was developed for Recom, who hasn't made ANYTHING in the US before. Hell, they've only made 3 games (including this one), and the other two are what I'm guessing to be Majohng games. Second, the game isn't sold at retail. You can only buy it online (or pirate it). It has all the ingredients of shovelware. Luckily for us, whatever ingredients they did add definitely aren't of the metallic, shovel-like taste and are just delicious. So, the concept of Sideswiped is basically to ram shit into other shit. Well, by shit I mean cars (and occasionally other miscellaneous objects). A majority of the game modes involve demolition, with only a few being pure, straight-up racing. That being said, if you're looking for a completely authentic, realistic, and straight-up racer, you'll probably not find it in Sideswiped. However, if you're looking for a barrel of fresh-squeezed fun, you'll want this puppy. Anyway, the modes involve you either going solo or against other cars to get points (outside of the racing challenges). For some modes, you may need to crash into enemies cars to get points. In others, it may be ramming into objects on the streets, like casual drivers, traffic cones, etc. There's also your racing ones which involve either racing by yourself or against computers. And last but not least, there's Challenges, which are unique modes that have unique rules. Lucky for us, all of these modes are fun. Racing is very arcadey, so arcade fans will be pleased. Demolition is pretty mindless, but it's just incredible enjoyment that doesn't require a whole lot of thinking. After a game is done, you'll earn cash depending on how well you did, whether it be you got the minimum requirement to pass it or if you got the requirement to complete it. You can spend the cash on buying or upgrading new cars. You can make cars faster, stronger, or have a longer Boost meter, as well as buy cars ranging from vans to armored trucks. The main problem with Sideswiped (which doesn't even end up as a problem) is, on paper, it seems very repetitive. A lot of the game modes are recycled but with higher scores required to pass and, int total, there's about 6 maps. Still, even if it may look repetitive, you won't be bored by it. The action is intense and refreshing every time. There's just some sort of magic that makes a repetitive game feel non-repetitive. It's hard to explain, honestly, even for me. The biggest downer in the game, though, is the lack of online multiplayer. Sideswiped does feature online leaderboards, but no P2P play. It's unfortunate, since I could see this being an absolutely perfect game if it had a good online mode. However, Sideswiped does have multi-cart multiplayer (no Download Play, sorry) as well as an interesting single cart, single DS "switch off" multiplayer mode. The multi-cart is definitely more intense than the "hot potato" multiplayer, but both of them are still great fun. Graphics and audio wise, the game truly does excel. For graphics, the game has a very impressive "instant replay" feature to highlight your best crashes in slow motion, multiple angles. The game seamlessly transitions to and from these, and they can be skipped if you want. However, why would you? They'll crack a goofy grin of sheer enjoyment across your face. As for other pros in graphics, environments are nicely detailed and the amount of cars and objects you can have on screen at a time is impressive. However, with all these objects on screen there comes some occasional slowdown. The slowdown isn't a major dip, but you'll notice it from time to time. Still, it's a sacrifice that's for the better, since having all these objects on the screen at the same time makes the game so much more intense. Explosions also seem a little cheap, since they're kind of GBA quality, 2-D kabooms. Still, it's a minor nuisance that doesn't detract from the gameplay. As for the audio, the game features a pretty nice, wanging guitar soundtrack for your white noise, as well as a funny "Engrish" voice actor to be the announcer. The explosions, ramming, and car sounds all sound great too. Overall, Sideswiped a dark horse of a game that you really should ride. It's an excellent re-imagining of what Burnout could've been on the DS, but even then, I doubt a good Burnout for the DS could trump this masterpiece. Demolition, arcade racing, and total destruction all collide perfectly in Sideswiped, and it's a game that shouldn't be left out of your collection. And hey, for $20 as a starting retail price, you might even want to buy it. Presentation: Menus are simple and nicely laid out, as well as look great. The combination of crashing mayhem and racing all work great together. Truly a surprise for what looked like, on paper, as a low-budget crapper cash-in. 9/10 Graphics: There's some slowdown and explosions look average, but the slow motion replays and great work on car models and environments definitely outweigh these nuisances. You'll be amazed at every replay, trust me. 9.2/10 Audio: A nice wanging guitar soundtrack, as well as the funny Engrish voice acting for the announcer and great sound effects really help the game come too life. It could use a little more diversity in some of the sound effects here and there, but that's just nitpicking. 8.9/10 Gameplay: Absolutely fantastic. It's what Burnout could've and should've been, but better. The demolition, the racing, the controls, everything are top-notch. There's not a lot of diversity though, but the modes are already addictive enough that you won't even notice you've been using the same map 15 times. 9.6/10 Lasting Appeal: There's a lot of missions and challenges to do as well as cars and parts to unlock. There's also a Free Play mode for some nice pick up and play value. The lack of single cart or online multiplayer is a major drag, but there's still multi-cart multiplayer and a hot potato mode. Online Leaderboards are also a nice touch. It'll definitely keep you hooked for a while. 8.5/10 Overall: 9.4/10 Discuss, lemmings!