|System: DS, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: WarForward Technologies||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Brash Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The basic platform elements in the game are solid. You will run, jump, double jump, climb, and spin jump on enemy's heads to neutralize them. It's all very safe and predictable. The levels may differ, but you'll always be doing the same thing in each of them. There are a handful of flying levels, but these are the exception to this platforming rule. Controlling the craft in the flying levels is encumbered by both a clumsy control system as well as the 3D graphics, which make it difficult to judge perspectives.
The environments and characters are rendered in 3D, but the actual platforming elements are presented in only two dimensions. This is a classic platforming concept, a concept the developers should have adhered to in the flying stages since they are less than spectacular. They remind me of the underwater levels in Super Mario 3, my least favorite levels. In one stage, you have to guide the ship through an asteroid belt while colleting coins. The coins and the asteroids come at you from the back of the screen while you are staring at the craft head-on. The craft moves up and down and side-to-side but remains in the same fixed plane as the asteroids and coins move around it. Since the asteroids vary in size, and they become larger when they get closer, it's difficult to tell exactly how far away a particular one is, which may cause you to move unnecessarily and risk getting hit by another. Since the flying sections utilize both screens, the craft will temporarily disappears from view when traversing from one screen to the next.
Collecting plays a huge role in the platforming levels. Coins and hearts are collected in the traditional way and can be used to increase everything from your health to your abilities. At the end of each level, a store appears where you can purchase weapons, health, clothing, various power-ups, and moves such as the double jump. Some rhythm is necessary to get through the levels, but you always have to keep a lookout for the enemies that lie in your direct path, so you can't get too comfortable with your pattern and technique. Many of the enemies are repetitive and reappear throughout the levels. Boss battles can be quite frustrating due to some collision detection issues, which make it difficult to tell who is hitting whom.
The levels have a lot of visual depth, so they appear huge in scope. The camera angles follow along beautifully since they aren't set to follow a 3D map. Environments are well detailed and colorful, with a separate scrolling background for added dimension. The characters are rendered well in-game, but the cutscenes steal the show. They look good enough to be in the movie, almost. There is no actual voiceover work, but plenty of text if you want to relive the story. The sound effects are good, but most of the in-game sounds are overshadowed by the coin-collecting ding.
It's quite possible to beat this game in an afternoon. It's not very long, and aside from some frustrating technical issues, it's not intentionally difficult. You will get some replay value attempting to find all of the coins and unlockables, and you might even get a few hours out of the two-player mode, but not much more. The multiplayer component is little more than a mini-game and not a full-fledged co-op mode as you might expect. As it is, I can only recommend a rental based on the relative short gameplay and replay value.
CCC Senior Writer