Video Game: Meteos

"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."

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. 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 morenote  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.

There is a Mission-Pack Sequel based on Disney properties instead of planets, which allowed enabled blocks to be moved horizontally on all but the highest difficulty.

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.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: One ending turns Meteo launching into a sport. Yes, with the threat of an Earth-Shattering Kaboom and everything.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: themselves, regarding the Suburbionites. Their original planet was destroyed due to constant warfare.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Except for Geolyte, 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).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Some of the lower-level opponents are so stupid that they will lose the match without the player touching the DS
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The seven sages of Hevendor did— and despite this, they're still targeted by the Meteos.
  • Asteroid Miners: The tiny planet Mekks was originally a mine until its robotic inhabitants converted it into a networked metropolis.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Yooj/Gigantis is a giant thunderhead.
  • 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.
  • City Planet: Grannest/Smogor
  • Crapsaccharine 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
  • Difficult but Awesome: Planet Meteo, in the DS game, has 6 randomly chosen Meteos types. In Meteos Wars, the types are fixed, but they are the 7 rarest in the game. Either way, Planet Meteo takes heavy advantage of the game mechanic where burnt Meteos sent to other planets turn into types of their planet of origin, meaning opponents attacked by Meteo will have to deal with Meteo's types as well as their own. However, Planet Meteo has the widest playfield (though tied with some others), and its high number of types makes it difficult to find matches in the first place.
    • In the DS game, Brabbit is also rather beginner-unfriendly due to its fixed ignition height and extremely floaty physics. However, any columns with burnt Meteos will not give you a warning and thus not count towards Annihilation. This means you can ignite at least one block on every column, and it will make you effectively invulnerable until you make a mistake. Brabbit is the one planet most capable of doing this due to the long time Meteos spend in the air (they stay burnt until a moment after they land). Brabbit got a heavy nerf in Meteos Wars with the Planet Impacts though, particularly Tempest, which slices the otherwise solid defense into ribbons.
  • Dub Name Change: Even between American and European English, several planets had their names changed. Some (Layerzero/Holozero) were subtle, some were total renames.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What happens to your planet if you lose, although it isn't shown on-screen.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Endless Game: Deluge mode, in which you play as one planet by yourself until you get Annihilated. Alternatively, you can start a Stock game of Simple mode for the same effect (but with optional additional lives).
  • Energy Beings: Thirnovans/Trinovans are half-composed of energy.
    • Layazeroes/ Holozeroes may count as well, being living holograms.
  • 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 state after being struck by a meteor.
  • Gainax Ending: The crayon-drawn "Galactic Fork" ending.
  • Genesis Effect: Wiral, Suburbion, and Darthvega are all artificial planets.
  • Genius Loci: Given that Meteo is implied to have no inhabitants, this could be the case.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Meteo. Reptilian eyes, as well.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Have a Nice Death: "ANNIHILATION!"
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Globin, since it's based off of a blood cell.
  • Heavy Worlder: Gravitans live on a planet where the gravity is intense enough to make a particle speck weigh like an ultra-dense 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.
  • Living Gasbag: There's a few: The puffy inhabitants of Yooj, the sentient colorful gas clouds of Brabbit, the umbrella-like fellows from Megadom, and the creatures of Bavoom that drift endlessly in the planet's fierce winds. All of these civilizations live in either nebulae or gas giants and must float by necessity.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Gravitas' "descent beat" never plays during normal gameplay.note  However, it does have one programmed, and can be heard if you purchase its sound set. "HELL NO!" "HELL NO!" "HELL NO!"
  • Match Three Game
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The people of Grannest/Smogor, Mekks, and Wiral/Neuralis are all robots.
  • 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.
  • Numerological Motif: Some of the Meteo costs to fuse planets.
    • Lucky Seven: Hevendor requires 777 of Air, Fire, H2O, Soil, Iron, Zap, Herb, and Zoo, as well as 77 of Glow and Dark, alongside 1 Soul and 1 Time.
    • Number of the Beast: Jeljel requires 666 of Fire, Soil, and Zoo, alongside 3 Dark meteos.
  • 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.
  • Retraux: The theme of Gigagush, with repetitive beeping music and 4-bit meteo block sprites.
  • Single-Biome Planet
  • Shifting Sand Land: Anasaze and Dawndus
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Freaze/Polaria
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Thirnova/Trinova
  • Starfish Aliens: Roughly two-thirds of the planets lack anything remotely resembling a human.
    • And that's just the shape; the official website for the first game showed that their size ranged from the one-millimeter Layazeroes to the forty-meter Freazers. How they all communicate with each other and live together on the Metamo Ark is not explained.
  • Starfish Language: The aliens on Lastar/Candelor communicate with each other by reflecting sunlight off their bodies.
  • Stock Scream: The Howie scream can be heard on Gravitas in the DS version if you launch a huge stack of meteos off the planet.
  • Sugar Bowl: Limotube is a world that is always sunny and is populated by peaceful cat-like aliens.
  • The Tetris Effect: You will think about aligning three objects together long after playing.
  • Under the Sea: Oleana
  • 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.