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"It was a dark time... The existence of all planets was threatened by one: the evil planet Meteo. A stream of phantasmagoric matter flowed endlessly from the planet. This matter - called Meteos - crushed life and stole the sparkle of the universe. World after world fell... But then, by chance, three Meteos of the same type aligned. Fusing together, they ignited, firing the other Meteos into space! A defense strategy was formed: the civilizations of each planet launched counterattacks by fusing Meteos in different ways. Thus the last, desperate stand versus Meteo began. The Metamo Ark - a warship made of Meteos ore - set off as a bastion of hope, with the fate of the universe resting on a lone civilization's valor."—Introduction/Synopsis
Meteos is a Nintendo DS Falling Blocks Puzzle Game, released in 2005, created by Masahiro Sakurai, of Kirby and Super Smash Bros fame. His first work as an independent developer apart from HAL Laboratories, Meteos was instead developed by Q Entertainment (Lumines). As of this writing, it is Sakurai's only work apart from Nintendo (who still published the game in the West). Despite the pedigree and similar feel and features to his past work (Music vs. SFX slider, Item Switch, multiplayer emphasis), it comes off as a wholly original project.
The game is set in a universe mostly populated with either Single Biome Planets or Planets of Hats, all inhabited by scribble-like races. The evil planet Meteo is steadily destroying the universe with a stream of 'phantasmagoric' meteors, called Meteos (Meteo being the Japanese transliteration for "Meteor"). However, by chance, three Meteos of the same kind align above a planet, launching the entire stream out of the victim planet's atmosphere. With this knowledge, a planet's civilization (you) sets out to defeat Meteo with their shape-shifting ship.
Like many puzzle games, the concept is to line up three or more blocks (Meteos) of the same color/kind, moving them once they have landed. However, instead of simply disappearing, the Meteos will then ignite, becoming burnt blocks and propelling the blocks above the burnt blocks into the atmosphere, where they are then launched either into deep space or at an opposing player's atmosphere (play field). In addition, most launches require you to match a trio again while the chunk is still in midair in order to clear the top of the screen, each subsequent ignition being more powerful. Throw in various explosive items and the ability to speed up the gameplay, and you've got a diabolically tense puzzler. The only catch is that you can only move the blocks up and down.
Each planet (field) has its own traits, including width, gravity, block descent speed, and launch power. Each of the 40 planets (including Meteo) has its own civilization, music, and stage decor, all in a common theme, such as Firim/Ignius, the lava planet, or Globin, the red blood cell-shaped planet with breathing as its music's backbeat. Each planet's advantages and disadvantages make them more like characters than levels.
A proper sequel, Meteos Wars, was released on the Xbox Live Arcade in 2008. It introduced online play, planet-specific special attacks, more planets and unlockable costumes for the aliens.
Tropes used in Meteos:
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence - The seven sages of Hevendor did-- and despite this, they're still targeted by the Meteos.
- All Planets Are Earthlike - Except for Geolyte, heavily averted.
- Apocalypse How - Class X style on a Class X-4 scale.
- Apocalypse Wow - The opening cutscene of the original showed unnamed (and hopefully uninhabited) planets falling prey to the Meteos horde (and thus exploding).
- Asteroid Miners - The tiny planet Mekks was originally a mine until its robotic inhabitants converted it into a networked metropolis.
- Bubbly Clouds - Yooj
- Button Mashing - In the original, it was all too easy to scribble frantically and get some free ignitions that way. No such luck on the analog-controlled Wars, though.
- Crap Saccharine World - As many people will tell you, this is a supposedly lighthearted game about preventing planetary annihilation. Not to mention you lose in some of the endings.
- Death From Above
- Dueling Games: with Lumines
- Earthshattering Kaboom
- Evil Eye - Planet Meteo
- Falling Blocks
- Floating Continent - The inhabitants of Megadom live on one.
- From Nobody to Nightmare - Meteo used to be a planet capable of supporting life, but was transformed into its current Cosmic Horror state after being struck by a meteor.
- Gravity Screw: The aptly-named Gravitas. According to official materials, gravity is 10 billion times stronger there than on Earth. Try and ignite Meteos and they stay frozen in place...then get a second ignition going and they shoot off into the atmosphere at breakneck speeds. Hevendor also has weird gravity; blocks fall at a normal speed, are really floaty when shot into the air individually, and are whisked away with a single ignition (which makes for game-breaking fun when coupled with a Super Rocket).
- Green Hill Zone - Geolyte/Geolitia, although it's not necessarily the easiest level.
- Half-Energy Beings - Thirnovans/Trinovans
- Haunted Planet - Jeljel/Magmor is a Lethal Lava Land, but the sounds (in the first Meteos game) suggest a Haunted House-type environment, including a Ominous Music Box Tune for the main background, horror-type sound effects, and even some thunderclaps accompanied by a woman screaming when you lose.
- And, in order to unlock it, you have to fuse together a few different kinds of Meteos. You need 666 of each of three of those types...
- Heartbeat Soundtrack - Globin, since it's based off of a blood cell.
- Heavyworlder - Gravitans live on a planet where the gravity is intense enough to make a particle speck weigh like an ultradense dot.
- Humanoid Aliens - Some of them, at least.
- Intelligent Gerbil - The bee-like Hanihulans
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja - Gelyer, from Meteos Wars. No pirate equivalent, though.
- Jack of All Stats - The initial four planets, Geolyte/Geolitia, Anasaze, Oleana, and Firim/Ignius, are all fairly average, toned-down planets for new players.
- Oddly, Lumious, a planet introduced in Meteos Online promoted to an introductory planet in Meteos Wars, is not. Even experienced players have trouble getting it to work.
- Jungle Japes - Boggob/Perila
- Lethal Lava Land - Firim/Ignius (fire), Jeljel/Magmor (lava/magma), and Hotted/Pyros (molten iron) all count.
- Limit Break - Meteos Wars introduces super moves called "Planet Impacts", which vary from planet to planet:
- Gambit: Increases number of Meteos falling on opponent's field; decreases number falling on yours.
- Tempest: Clears columns of blocks from opponent's field-- its usefulness can vary.
- Sentinel: Bombards opponent with garbage blocks.
- Armageddon: Sends a cluster of heavy, unchainable blocks to opponent's field.
- Match Three Game
- Mechanical Lifeforms
- Mini Game Credits: The original game lets you play a small game with absolutely tiny bricks during the credits.
- Mordor - Meteo. It's practically the Eye of Sauron.
- Multiple Endings
- Musical Gameplay - Much of the music is generated by ignitions, the blocks floating, or stacks landing.
- Ominous Music Box Tune - Jeljel/Magmor
- Omnicidal Maniac - Planet Meteo
- Planet of Hats
- Plant Aliens - Floriasians and Wuudites/Arboreans. Possibly Anasazeans as well.
- Playable Epilogue - The credits sequence in the original DS version features a massive arena based off of the aforementioned space ship. The blocks are small enough that you should probably switch to button control over the stylus.
- Regional Bonus - See the notes on Woolseyism in the YMMV page.
- Single Biome Planet
- Shifting Sand Land - Anasaze or Dawndus
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World - Freaze/Polaria
- Space Does Not Work That Way - Thirnova
- Starfish Aliens - Roughly two-thirds of the planets lack anything remotely resembling a human.
- The End of the World as We Know It
- The Jimmy Hart Version - The music for planet Meteo.
- The Tetris Effect - You will think about aligning three objects together long after playing.
- Under the Sea - Oleana
- Wasted Song - Gravitas' "descent beat" never plays during normal gameplay. However, it does have one programmed, and can be heard if you purchase its sound set. "HELL NO!" "HELL NO!" "HELL NO!"
- Womb Level - Globin
- World Shapes - Some unusual ones as viewed by the select screen. Oleana resembles a bone despite being Under the Sea, Grannest/Smogor is cylindrical, Hotted/Pyros is cube-shaped, Firim/Ignus is shaped like a lightning bolt, and Globin is shaped like a blood cell.