If we were in charge, and Bandai told us they wanted to convert the anime Fullmetal Alchemist to the DS, we'd allow them to go with a 2D Double Dragon clone. But they absolutely, flat-out, wouldn't be granted permission for minigames. Not ever.
Too many DS games are afraid to be themselves, and think they have to be a collection of genres, scattering disingenuous drivel throughout to crowbar in a use of the stylus. As ever, here these arm-wrestling/wood chopping nonsenses are half-finished ideas, adding nothing of worth.
Gold into lead
Sadly, even if Fullmetal were to stick to the side-scrolling fighting, it would still suck harder than a five year old with a MacDonald's thickshake. The gimmick, beyond aimlessly punching and kicking baddies, is the alchemy. This consists of tapping icons on the touch screen to make magic items appear, with no room for chemical improvisation.
It feels like a castoff from the '80s, with a story so dull it would put rocks to sleep, told in such a fragmented way that it's painful. It's short at least, but then it expects you to want to play it again with other characters. You won't.
Underwhelming in every single way. It's a weak fighter, made annoying by silly minigames and a story so messy it made our poor heads fall off.