|System: X360, PS3, Wii, DS, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Heavy Iron Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
WALL-E has finally hit the big screen, and the response is unanimous: WALL-E rocks! Granted most Disney/PIXAR titles are successful, but this one is the kind both kids and adults will enjoy.
With such high standards set by the movie, THQ and Heavy Iron Studios had no choice but to put out the best possible video game follow-up. Im happy to give them the thumbs-up, because this is literally the most entertaining movie tie-in Ive ever played. Im not sure why other reviewers around the net had trouble with it, but let me tell you this game was fairly well made and delivers a fun story with highly entertaining gameplay. Just like the movie, the video game lets you into the world of WALL-E, a humble robot programmed to clean up the Earth and make it livable again. As the only surviving WALL-E unit on Earth, hes been working away for 700 years while the human species lives and shops comfortably in the ultra-modern and flamboyant Buy n Large space cruisers. Buy n Large (BnL) is a monopoly that controls both government and business. For research purposes, they send an EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) unit to Earth, hoping to find out if Earth could, once again, support life. WALL-Es heart is instantly conquered by this robotic beauty, and when BnL takes her away, he quits his tedious job and sets out in order to save her.
WALL-E, though hes just a robot, has a charming personality everyone enjoys. Hes also very agile and sturdy, which translates into really fun controls. Each level offers a somewhat different gameplay style, but when youre just controlling him, things are very fast-paced and interesting. Small conveyor belts act as his feet and take him rolling from place to place. He can jump, make blocks out of garbage, and even launch them at switches and targets that trigger miscellaneous mechanisms. Theres trash everywhere, but hell often make cubes out of scraps that come out of the BnL vending machines. Some of the cubes will be electrically charged, so you can power up certain energy stations, charge-up pylons, switches, and the like. Magnetic cubes, on the other hand, let you get metallic objects out of the way.
EVE is a super-fast flying robot that navigates through the air exploring all the nooks and crannies in the area. This kind of gameplay resembles that of games like F-Zero and Wipeout. However, you dont always have to race; you can also stop near interesting objects and perform a quick scan, shoot down elements that get in your way, etc. Some levels are setup for co-op gameplay between WALL-E and EVE. Though WALL-E still has the same abilities, EVE is capable of transporting him through big gaps or lifting him up in order to reach higher surfaces; this is called the Stork Jump. In addition, you can also shoot with her laser arm. All these options make the mechanics even more complex and engaging. Even though most platformers contain many of these gameplay elements, WALL-E does it in a very inventive way.
Unlike other kids games, this one has very few problems with the camera, at least in the Xbox 360 version. The screen always centers behind WALL-E, making it easy to be aware of his surroundings. The right analog stick lets you (most of the time) look all around and focus the camera however you want. The rest of the games functions are easily achieved by moving the character with the left control stick and pushing buttons to jump, pack up trash into a cube, shoot, trigger switches, etc. Kids shouldnt really have a problem to play this one, as its very user-friendly compared to other games out there. Needless to say, adults will also enjoy its simple and entertaining gameplay style.
As far as visuals go, WALL-E and the other characters look very slick. The environments also do a good job representing what we saw in the movie. Theres a minor lack of detail throughout the levels, but its not bothersome or completely unattractive; its just simpler than it could have been. The elements that make up the surface of our beloved planet (mostly trash, metal, etc.) look a little bland and tough to distinguish. Luckily, the futuristic levels inside the Axion (BnL space station) are more colorful and flashy, and so are the short but funny cutscenes.