|System: Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: D3 Publisher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The other half of Astro Boy's equation is the SHMUP gameplay. It's side-scrolling, in-the-air action, á la Nanostray 2 (DS), but it's completely formulaic and uninteresting. Enemies swarm in from the front, behind, and corners of the screen - everything you've come to expect from a typical, Galaga-esque-type game - and aside from utilizing your Specials, all you have is a dull laser to combat enemies with. There are no cool blasts and explosions that fill the screen, and as a whole, Astro Boy is a journey that just feels lifeless in almost every way.
The production of the game bears a lot of blame in that respect, too, since neither the sound nor visuals do much to elevate the experience. There are elements of Astro Boy that look really good, such as various aspects of the lighting and shading, but there are many more chunks of really poor visual design. Certain portions of grass are represented by huge, blocky green textures, and things only look worse when the camera comes in close during cutscenes. The aesthetic is mostly there for this game, but the execution feels completely rushed.
The music sort of straddles the fence in terms of what it has to offer the adventure - neither taking away from the game nor offering anything of value. Themes are generic and loop without cadence during moments of excitement. The sound effects, though, do add a bit of satisfaction to portions of the combat, but it's just not enough to make Astro Boy a fun game to play.
Though many folks will consider this game because they enjoyed the movie and want to extend the experience at home, others will be curious because of the enjoyment they had with Treasure's version of Astro Boy for Gameboy Advance some years back. The latter group, unfortunately, is sure to be let down by High Voltage's use of the license. An Arena mode (a type of survival mode) makes the short list of extras, but the package is still incredibly anemic. The game controls fine, and there are moments of mild enjoyment, but Astro Boy for Wii and PS2 is an otherwise premier example of "average" in gaming. With so much great content coming out for the holidays, there's little reason to throw your gaming dollars at this adventure.
CCC Freelance Writer