|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Disney Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
A new Disney movie has hit the big screen and, as expected, Disney Interactive has a game to accompany the film. However, do not expect the usual faulty game we have grown accustomed to when Disney is involved in the inception or development, let alone a game based on one of their latest movies. In fact, Meet the Robinsons uses the plot of the movie that debuted over the weekend and broadens it while staying true to its source material.
The movie's storyline involves a young boy named Lewis, a brilliant twelve year old who has created several inventions prior to the start of the movie. He is also an orphan. His latest invention, the memory scanner, will help him locate his birth mother, but when it is stolen, all hope seems to be lost. Until a boy from the year 2037 named Wilbur Robinson pops in and plucks Lewis from his own time. Lewis and Wilbur return to the future, where Lewis meets the most eccentric Disney family ever - The Robinsons. A lot of ups and downs and twists and turns later and you have one of the best Disney films in a long time.
At least that is the story of the movie; the game on the other hand has a different approach. Players will take control of Wilbur Robinson, the adventurous "thrill" seeker of sorts. While the story you follow has Wilbur in the spotlight instead of a supporting role and is parallel to the film, there is definitely an amped up feel to the action you might have missed in the movie. The main difference is that Wilbur has control of the time machine and, through him, we travel through time to various locations seeking adventure.
The main elements of gameplay are nothing new to gamers of the movie sub-genre. An adventure platformer in a colorful landscape at heart, Meet the Robinsons does incorporate new elements in the game that feel new to this particular type of game. Your main weaponry controls are displayed on screen, which come in handy, just in case you tend to forget the button that correlates with the weapon you need. This feature is one of the refreshing additions to the genre that I personally feel should be included on these types of games from here on out. Sure, this would seemingly make the game simpler, but having your array of weapons readily available to you has been a feature present in a certain green hat-wearing adventurer and has proven successful. This is also a family game, and this simplified display is a welcomed addition for players of all ages. Having pinpointed that particularly improved feature in the sub-genre, it is safe to say that Meet the Robinsons plays extremely close to other adventure platfomers on the market.
In addition to the simple control schematics, the game is enjoyable to play. The levels are made up of your basic object-moving puzzles and mazes. Each one is filled with area-specific baddies and bosses. Meet the Robinsons further adds to the enjoyment of the game by including an invention system which will allow you to build new items throughout your adventure. Your main assortment of items and weapons includes the Disassembler. The Disassembler shots a spark of energy that tears apart objects and certain enemies in order to receive the parts you need to make and enhance new items. The Chargeball Glove, which is primarily used to stun certain enemies before you capture or disassemble them, also opens the Chargeball mini-game. Finally, there is the Robinson Scanner, an all-purpose scanner used to detect hidden areas, find weaknesses in enemies, and solve puzzles. In addition to your primary items, there are the Havoc Gloves and Levitation Ray, as well as a bunch of other hidden items such as action figures, concept art, and blueprints.
The Chargeball mini-game is a nice variation to the Pong that we all know and love. Though a little more complex, you can definitely spend hours mastering this mini-game without being bogged down by the story. There are also Virtual Reality discs you can find in order to open new arenas to compete in. Regrettably, there is no multiplayer in the game. Being able to challenge your friends to a game of Chargeball would have been a nice addition to the game, and it would have increased the playability a great deal.
The characters are colorful and capture the feel of the film eloquently. Aside from the traditional over-the-top movements of the characters, there is hardly anything to complain about as far as the design of the game. The main location of the game, the Robinson home, adds enough originality while staying true to the feel of the Robinsons themselves. The voice cast handles the chores of bringing the Robinsons to vocal life splendidly. Hey, any game that has Adam West doing the voice for a pizza delivery superhero has got to be a great game. However, there is one thing that I have to point out about the sounds of the game. While in the Robinson abode, there are plants throughout the house, and inside the plants live characters named Spike and Dimitri that constantly spring their heads out of the dirt and scream. An occasional scream is okay here and there, but when the screams start to become overlapped and louder, it is extremely annoying, almost to the point of turning down the volume while in the Robinsons' home.
While Meet the Robinsons is nothing revolutionary, it does provide an enjoyable experience all the way around. If you are the type of gamer that loves platform games and loves the movie sub-genre just as much, then this game was designed with you in mind. Even if you are a casual gamer looking for a way to dig into gaming, this is definitely a good start. So on your way home from the cinema, stop and pick up this gaming nugget, for an enjoyable gaming experience equal to the movie.
CCC Freelance Writer