I haven’t been playing my DS as much the last little while. At the end of February, I finally stopped keeping my town “perfect” in Animal Crossing: Wild World. It wasn’t an addiction anymore but a chore, and besides I had amassed over 10,000,000 bells — thus achieving my life goal of being a Bellionaire. Since then I worked on unlocking the hidden drivers/carts in Mario Kart DS (easy) and adopted a couple of immortal dogs. But there was no game that really captured my interested.

I tried a couple of new games last week. SEGA Superstars Tennis is the SEGA version of Smash Brothers; i.e., a game based on all their brand characters, except playing tennis. It’s like Virtua Tennis and not that fun since it’s about 10 years old. I was enthusiastic about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate even though it was an RPG. I’ve been avoiding RPGs because I don’t want to sink 60 hours into a game, repeatedly fighting useless monsters to get to boss battles. However, I’m giving this one a shot because it’s a multiplayer RPG, so four people can go on a quest at the same time. It’s fun in short bursts, but I need three other people to play with me because the computer-controlled teammates are pretty useless.

The game that is the most engrossing is Professor Layton and the Curious Village. It is an Adventure/Puzzle game, where the main characters visit a puzzle-loving town and solve puzzles posed by the villagers. Originally I was skeptical that I would like a game that’s basically a collection of brain teasers, but it’s actually fun because the game is designed like a Tim Burton cartoon, with the environment and characters having quirky features. Many of the puzzles are classics (find the element that weighs slightly less in 3 tries, or using 2 containers measure out a specific amount of liquid), but there are some more ingenious ones that I haven’t seen before. It’s worth trying and a much better alternative to Brain Age.