Have you ever heard of Geocaching? It’s a hobby that my dad and some of my little brothers are into. Basically you use a GPS device to hunt hidden treasures around the world left by other fellow Geocachers. Treasure World for DS isn’t quite like that, but it does share a few common traits with Geocaching. Both games have you hunting for treasure out in the real world using today’s technology, and you actually have to go outside to find it! But in Treasure World’s case, you pick up Wi-Fi hotspots to unlock virtual treasures in this very unique treasure hunting game.
Treasure World was developed by Aspyr Media in Austin, TX, and here’s how it works. In the game, set your DS to find Wi-Fi hotspot signals, close your DS, then just go outside! In the car, on a walk, to the library, or in a coffee shop or restaurant. Anywhere where there’s Wi-Fi signals. You don’t actually connect to any Wi-Fi, the game just senses the signals, that’s all. Each time you pick up a new Wi-Fi signal, you’ll unlock a treasure in the game (or money to buy treasures).
There are thousands of treasures to collect, and you can arrange them in your personal playfield using the DS stylus and touch screen. Trees, shrubs, flowers, world landmarks, other knickknacks, even 8-bit sprites! Each treasure has a sound effect associated with it, and depending on where you place it on the field, it’ll play that sound effect in a different pitch. In this way, you can arrange your treasures to make songs, or Songscapes as they’re called in the game. You can also unlock outfits for your robot Wi-Fi finder to wear, who also serves as your in-game avatar. Register at http://www.clubtreasureworld.com/ and use your DS to upload your Treasure World profile on the site, and you can show off your collection and trade treasure hunting tips with friends.
The only problems with Treasure World is there’s not much actual gameplay to be had here. But if you like arranging and rearranging furniture in your house in Animal Crossing, or playing with the music composer program in Mario Paint (yes I’m that old), then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. Also, if you live in a rural area with fewer Wi-Fi signals, you may not get as much enjoyment out of this game. However, I visited a friend out in the country over the July 4th weekend, and I picked up a surprising amount of Wi-Fi signals on the way there, too. Guess the cows have Internet access. Heck, I live in a small suburb, and on a single trip to the local Wal-Mart (only five minutes away), I picked up about 100 signals each way! But even though all you do in Treasure World is collect things, it’s definitely worth a try for anyone who likes unique DS games.
Kids love collecting things, whether it’s trading cards, marbles, rocks, or today’s virtual goodies like Pokemon monsters. So they won’t get bored with the vast amount of goodies to collect in Treasure World. The Club Treasure World Web site seems very kid-safe, too. It’s a good game to bring along on long summer road trips, or just in the car for local city errands. Reading is helpful to wade through all the menus and text. Treasure World is rated E for Everyone.