It’s No Ratchet and Clank, But it Ain’t Bad
Although WALL-E is available on the current gen consoles, it doesn’t suffer one bit on the PS2. It looks good and plays good, relatively speaking. While it may not have the production values of the PS3 version, it’s still a winner. It’s not Ratchet and Clank, but it ain’t bad.
Following the premise of the blockbuster Pixar movie of the same name, WALL-E the video game captures the magic of the movie but goes beyond simply shadowing scenes. This is a darn good game in and of itself. As a platformer it has all the necessary elements, but combined in such a way as to be fun, challenging, and diverse. Elements of platform jumping, combat, puzzle solving, collecting, exploration, and racing are presented throughout the 27 levels in a largely unpredictable manner. At times, the game does seem somewhat contrived, throwing everything at you including the kitchen sink, but it’s well-paced with moments of reflective solitude as well as full-blown chaos.
WALL-E is the last robot left on a vacated planet. The inhabitants have polluted it so badly they had to leave in search of another celestial body to mess up. WALL-E’s sole job is to clean up the garbage in hopes that one day the planet might be able to sustain life once more. It’s a dirty job but some bot’s got to do it. WALL-E passes the centuries in quiet, desperate servitude, until one day a ship lands on the planet with a female bot named EVE. WALL-E falls hopelessly in love and stows away on the spaceship to begin his adventure with his new love. You will get to play as both WALL-E and EVE throughout the game.
WALL-E has a limited move list, and in this case it works. You’ll end up using your imagination more than the control buttons, as you learn to take advantage of items in the environments, as opposed to accessing a series of mind-taxing button combinations to choose the perfect ability. I like the simplicity of the control system. You work with what you have, making use of various objects such as skateboards, ramps, elevators, magnets, and electricity. Aside from a standard, if not a little weak, jump move, WALL-E has the ability to compact objects into cubes, a throwback to his trash-compacting days. This skill is useful for creating magnetized blocks of debris you can throw in front of you to create a safe pathway through treacherous areas. Ramps come in handy for launching yourself higher and further into the air, thereby compensating for your relatively weak jumping skills. You will constantly be engaged to find some unique way through to the next area. Doing so requires plenty of puzzle-solving skills.
WALL-E is also capable of combat, but once again, it’s not his strongest suit. He’s got a laser but its best used as a ranged weapon, as you don’t want to get to close to an enemy bot armed with a laser, as these weapons are always more powerful than yours. It’s best to take pot shots from a distance where you can take cover more easily if they fire back. WALL-E is not very resilient either, as he takes a while to recover from a hit. Energy bars are available throughout the game, but like so many items, you’ve got to search for them.
Some levels are pure adrenaline rushes, as you are forced to get to the end as quickly as possible. These are typically downhill races where you will reach incredible speeds while avoiding the obstacle course that is your path. Playing as EVE allows you to get off the ground and fly. It adds another dimension to the game as you take to the air, albeit more like a hover than full flight. It’s a welcome change as WALL-E doesn’t always land on a dime. He has wheels that continue to roll after a landing. It’s not uncommon to fall to your death while deep in a level, only to have to start it all over again. I don’t think I have to tell you how annoying that is; I don’t care if it extends the replay value, that’s not “quality” replay value.
It will take the average player a few days to get through the single-player mode, but you can extend that by going back and trying to find all the hidden items. You’ll unlock some hilarious cutscenes which shows WALL-E acting totally outrageous during his discoveries, which turn out to be little more than junk. The unlockables are actually kind of disappointing, as they are mostly conceptual artwork; big deal!
Cutscenes follow the plot in the film, but are not taken directly from the movie. In this way, the graphics all have a cohesive look to them, you won’t see incredibly rendered cutscenes and then be let down by blasé, in-game graphics. Overall, the graphics are good. They are colorful, well rendered, and are virtually mechanically flawless, although I detected some slowdown. There are great particle effects such as wind, sand, dust, sparks, and explosions. Some textures are a little on the low-res side and some environments lack detail. There isn’t a lot of voiceover work in-game, but the music is appropriate if not a little repetitive.
There is no online mode, but a two-player, split-screen multiplayer mode is offered. It’s mainly a combat mode within a restricted environment with a limited amount of moves. There is also a co-op mode, but it doesn’t actually fit with the single-player mode, as it feels more like an add-on. The multiplayer modes are definitely not a deal breaker. Fortunately, the single-player mode carries the show.
It’s not often that a movie-inspired video game gets a good review. So, if you’ve enjoyed the movie, you can extend that enjoyment throughout the summer with WALL-E the video game.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
Good for the PS2 under any circumstance. 3.8 Control
Simple and fun. Engages your imagination more than your trigger finger. 2.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Lack of voiceovers, repetitive music, and average sound effects lower the overall production values. 3.8 Play Value
Great, classic platforming action. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.