Meteos is here and it’s another solid puzzle game released during the recent wave of great puzzlers hitting hand held systems. Made from the creators of Lumines, Meteos is a touch-pad based puzzle game that offers some new twists to an old and familiar genre. Putting the DS touch-pad to use, the game combines a few elements from the classics and mixes them with some new and fresh ideas.

You may be surprised to hear this, but there is a story and it goes like this. An evil planet, Meteo, has decided to destroy all nearby planets by shooting “phantasmagoric matter” (Meteos) at them, destroying all their life. The endangered planets do pick up on something during one of the attacks. If three Meteos’ of the same color align, they will blast off, back towards the planet they came from, Meteo. This becomes their attack plan and the planets begin to fight back and this is also where you come in. You’ll be the one doing all the work. Aligning the Meteos’ with your stylus, blasting them off into space in attempt to the stop the evil planet, Meteo.

Many have said the this game plays like no other puzzle game before but, I don’t think that’s true. Meteos, like many games before it has borrowed a few things from some of the older puzzle titles. There are bits of Tetris and Columns here and there but Meteos adds a lot of new stuff on top of anything that may be considered borrowed. The gameplay is simple. Single blocks of Meteos, each a different color fall constantly to your planet. With your stylus your goal will be to move the Meteos’s into groups of three, either horizontally or vertically. You can move the blocks vertically but not horizontally. You can also move the blocks a good distance, your not limited to a single move or skip. When you do manage to align the Meteos’ they will blast off into space taking any blocks resting above with them. While the blocks are in mid-air you can try to align the blocks that are resting on top, launching your blocks even further into space. Just like Tetris, if your stack of blocks reach the top of your screen, you’re done. Once you get the core game mechanics down there are all sorts of little tricks you can use to help you out. When you have a group of Meteos blasting off, you can use the stylus to flick Meteos from your stack into the launching group, keeping them in the air a little longer.

Each planet your on has a different gravity level, making the Meteos act differently. You’ll have to adjust to each stage and depending on the gravity level it can become pretty difficult. Eventually, depending on the mode you select, you may have to face off against several opponents at once. There’s a target window which lets you select, just who you want your outgoing blocks to strike.

There’s several different modes available in Meteos, including a timed mode, and endless mode and several more all offering varying gameplay. Along the way you’ll be able to unlock and purchase new levels and miscellaneous items with the points you’ve collected by completing various parts of the game and reaching certain scores. The mult-player mode is another portion of the game that shines. Using the DS’s sharing capabilities you can have two people play each other with one cartridge. Unlike most puzzle games where the player with the highest score wins, in Meteos you’ll have the ability to actually effect how the other player is doing. Whenever your blocks blast off, there on their way to your friends stack. It can get intense.

One of Meteos’s strong points is its presentation. Easy to navigate menus and easy to read buttons make setting up a game a snap. The in-game graphics are slick. The colorful, abstract backgrounds don’t get in the way of the colored blocks and give the game a lively feel. The music is the typical, repetitive soundtrack your used to, nothing special there.

Controlling the game is also easy and is done by using the stylus. Navigating through the menus and selecting modes is all done using the stylus. Moving the blocks and flinging them into the air is, once again, done with the stylus. Speeding up the falling blocks, switching targets are done using the buttons. It’s simple and you’ll have it down after half an hour.

Chalk this one up as another great title that can only be found on the Nintendo DS. Thanks to the touch-screen, puzzle games have reached a new standard. Fresh game play and a great presentation equal a game without too many negatives. If you like puzzle games, Meteos is a must. If your on the fence, give it a try. There’s really nothing not to like here and in no time you’ll be succumbing to the games addictive, “one more game”, game play.