|System: Wii, DS, PS3, PS2, X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Avalanche Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The platforming is not much better. I found it weird that Penny, who's supposedly a secret agent, has only one real gadget at her disposal called the Wheelbar. The Wheelbar is just what it sounds like: a bar with wheels on either side. It's used for sliding across ceilings and traversing obstacles. As a platforming device, it works fine, but I would have liked to see more variety in Penny's tools. Because she only has one item to use, using the Wheelbar becomes monotonous after a while.
Where the Wheelbar would have really been interesting is in some open areas where you use it to explore and find out how to progress through the game. Unfortuately, as this is a game geared toward children, the level design completely removes any need for creative thinking, particularly with this tool. Each characters sections are made up of extremely linear, uninteresting paths. The only real difference is that when you're playing as Bolt, you'll often come across open areas to fight Calico's henchman.
Graphically, Bolt is none too impressive. The framerate is decent, but the actual character models and animation are not done very well. The music is also very generic and uninteresting. This bland presentation really does a good job of characterizing the game; it just doesn't feel like a lot of effort has gone into it.
Bolt is severely lacking any challenge, and this is largely a result of its intended audience. Combat is a mindless, repetitive chore; you'll seldom if ever die, though it's worth mentioning that enemies can soak up a lot of damage before they are defeated. Penny's sections are even easier. You can simply tap a button to have the intended path highlighted for you, completely removing any minimal need for exploration in this already linear game. Finally, all that you need to do to take down a foe once he's found you is to tap a single button in a very easy quick-time event.
All told, Bolt is pretty much what I expected: a shallow, boring, repetitive game with very little depth and uninteresting gameplay. While it doesn't fail miserably in any one particular game component, it never really stands out in any area either. Aside from a few moments of sudden potential, Bolt is a mediocre game worth avoiding. Even if you're looking to purchase a game for a youngster, there are better titles out there to pick up.
CCC Freelance Writer