Review By: Jared
long made a living bringing to North America quality Japanese
titles that we wouldn't otherwise see, and that tradition of
quality continues with their latest PS2 title, Dual Hearts.
is an adventure/RPG that borrows a lot from other sources.
Rumble, the game's hero, is a Ruinseeker who's come to Sonno
Island in search of the legendary Dream Stone. It's here that he
meets up with Tumble, a Baku from the Dreamworld who's task it
is to recover the legendary Holy Instruments in the
"real" world through the use of various keys. Tumble
stumbles and loses these keys, which then fly off and take up
habitation in the dreams of various residents of the real world.
Thus Rumble & Tumble team up, entering a number of different
dreams to recover the lost keys and gain valuable treasures.
From here on
out Dual Hearts plays out in typical adventure/RPG
fashion. Rumble can equip multiple weapons at a time and use
them to defeat enemies (including the ubiquitous lock-on
function), flip switches, and solve various puzzles similar to Zelda:
Ocarina of Time. Tumble has a number of different powers and
functions to aid in the quest. By eating various Esamons freed
by cutting down bushes (sound familiar?), Tumble can restore
Rumble's health, perform several types of attacks, and dash. As
new powers and abilities are unlocked, players can then
backtrack to previous dreams and access new areas and power ups.
gameplay may follow other examples already set in the genre,
it's the rest of the presentation that really makes Dual Hearts
stand out as an unique title. The graphics are very cute, and
clearly aimed at younger characters. However, they never get too
cute for older gamers and the clever character design and dream
sequence layouts help to keep the experience fresh. Since each
main level takes place within a dream, Dual Hearts
features a wide variety of environments to traverse in. The
designers really did a great job of making each dream a twisted
and trippy reflection of that character's personality. I know
I've had some rather strange dreams in my lifetime, and the
dreams here are presented in a manner that the player would
think that character could actually have that type of dream. On
a technical level the graphics are pretty simple with low-poly
models and a bright color palette, but that's done
intentionally. Dual Hearts is a great example of how a
game doesn't have to feature all of the latest graphic tricks to
still look great.
important in the overall presentation of any adventure/RPG is
the dialogue. The quality of the dialogue throughout remains
well written and funny. Each character has his/her own manner of
speaking, and there are plenty of jokes and insults to keep the
follows a similar pattern. The music is alternatively breezy and
tense, and always fits the current mood properly. Sound effects
are subtle and somewhat sparse, but accurate and complimenting
characters make playing the game a joy rather than a pain
- A long
quest that'll keep the player busy for a while and never
gets too dull.
yet challenging gameplay that slowly maximizes the use of
all the controller's buttons as new weapons and abilities
- Borrows the
dream jumping from Alundra, Tumble is similar to every
other Japanese monster sidekick, and the gameplay is straight
out of Zelda. Admittedly these aren't bad sources to
borrow from, but it prevents the game from feeling completely
aimed at younger gamers, as the quest is pretty easy to
complete and the graphics are simple.
is an enjoyable adventure/RPG romp, and a nice change of pace from
this year's flood of traditional RPGs on the PS2. It's
definitely worth checking out, especially on the PS2 where there's