This Game is Wall-e-ful!
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. I’m happy to give them the thumbs-up, because this is literally the most entertaining movie tie-in I’ve ever played. I’m 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, he’s 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-E’s 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 he’s just a robot, has a charming personality everyone enjoys. He’s also very agile and sturdy, which translates into really fun controls. Each level offers a somewhat different gameplay style, but when you’re 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. There’s trash everywhere, but he’ll 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 don’t 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 game’s 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 shouldn’t really have a problem to play this one, as it’s 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. There’s a minor lack of detail throughout the levels, but it’s not bothersome or completely unattractive; it’s 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.
The sounds of the game certainly don’t go unnoticed. The music, as Disney as can be, is catchy and nice for the ears, but where this game excels is in the sound effects area. All the robotic sound effects, voices, etc. are very fun to hear. WALL-E’s way of talking is just charming, and the sounds you hear while walking, manipulating objects, navigating through the menus, etc. are pretty cool and never get annoying. During most of the game, you’ll also hear a loud and manly voice advertising Buy n Large products. It’s an ironic touch that nicely represents what our future could be like.
All in all, WALL-E contains nine fun and action-packed levels in story mode; there is also a bonus level and a few secret areas to unlock. It’s not a very long game but, thanks to the multiplayer options and numerous unlockables, the fun is not all over after you beat the game.
WALL-E offers multiplayer gameplay and in-game collectibles, images, concept art, videos, and a cheat-entering system. These aspects add replayability, although the collectible objects you amass throughout the game are not to-die-for. You can’t even zoom-in to check them out and admire them. Conversely, the multiplayer options really have some value for those who enjoy quick and laid back competition against friends or co-op play. By collecting Wallops (small floating E’s) in story mode, you’ll be able to unlock new multiplayer maps.
The Robot Tag Simulator mode puts up to four players in an arena, fighting to be the first to gather a set number of scraps. You can shoot around and pick up special weapons in order to defend yourself. In Keep the Cube, up to four players fight to hold the cube for a set amount of time; laser-shooting is allowed as well. EVE Aerial Arena will have two EVE units compete to collect as many rings as possible before time’s up. The Stop the Clocks co-op puts two WALL-E units to work in order to keep the clock running. None of these modes are as exciting as playing Mario Kart, but they can be fun for a while.
Anyone, from kids to adults, can pick up and play this title; it’s fairly easy to get through it, despite some challenging levels that require more platforming skills. The story is charming but ironic at the same time. Lighthearted humor is served throughout, making WALL-E one of the most fun kids’ games an adult can play. If you’re not into animated movies, you should just skip this one altogether. But, if you’re looking to extend your WALL-E experience, this game shouldn’t disappoint you!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.6 Graphics
Although the environments are not very detailed, THQ did a good job transporting players to the movie. Visuals are smooth and WALL-E and EVE look entirely authentic. 4.0 Control
Other kids’ games can’t compare to the fast-paced action of WALL-E. Controls are smooth and translate into lots of fun! Minor defects don’t detract from an enjoyable experience. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The game’s sounds fit nicely with this futuristic adventure. The sound effects are especially fun to hear. The characters don’t talk much, but they sound genuine and very cute. 3.8 Play Value
If you want to experience more than just the movie, this is the perfect tie-in. The inventive platforming-action of this game is quite exciting! Multiplayer options help to extend the fun. 3.9 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.