The movie and video game industries are quickly becoming best friends. When a blockbuster game is released, movie talks almost instantly begin. Similarly, every big budget movie seems to hit the theaters simultaneously with its video game counterparts. The cooperation between these two forms of media often translates well into sales, but the resulting crossover products haven’t always been stellar. Thankfully, WALL-E for the Wii manages to maintain much of the film’s appeal, while providing an adequate gameplay experience for fans of the movie.
The game, like the movie, focuses on a curious and quirky robot named WALL-E, who is tasked with cleaning up the trash heap that is futuristic Earth. While tidying the planet, WALL-E runs into a much more advanced robot named EVE and the two quickly become friends. Working together, they must protect the world’s final remaining plant in an effort to make Earth habitable for humans once more. Why a robot who has spent his entire life cleaning up people’s garbage would want to invite these litterbugs back with open arms is still a mystery to me, but WALL-E does manage to mask an important message beneath its deceptively cutesy exterior.
The quest to save the planet unfolds in nine levels, taking place on Earth and beyond. Players will control WALL-E, EVE, or a combination of the two. WALL-E levels have a good mix of platforming, collecting, and simplistic puzzle solving elements throughout. As a cleanup droid, WALL-E has the ability to produce four different kinds of trash cubes, each with their own unique properties and uses. As an example, heavy cubes are good for weighing down switches, while magnet cubes are great at repelling objects and enemies. Cubes can be created from random piles of debris or collected from functioning BnL vending stations. Unfortunately, the puzzles found throughout the game are incredibly simplistic, completely relying on the correct cube type for each situation.
Thankfully, EVE’s levels provide a good break from the monotony of WALL-E’s overly similar puzzles. As a more advanced robot capable of flight, EVE isn’t restricted to ground-based levels. Instead, players will be tasked with flying through open environments, scanning for objects of interest or following other characters. Occasionally, EVE will also need to fly through long corridor segments, blasting through enemies and obstacles using her laser-shooting arm in a race against time. These levels are actually quite fun, and the flight controls work rather well with players steering by pointing the Wii-mote where they would like to fly.
The levels that have WALL-E and EVE working together play similarly to WALL-E’s levels. The only major differences come in your ability to momentarily hover after a jump and use EVE’s laser attack. Otherwise, these segments are just more of the same simplistic puzzle and platforming elements that have already been established. Although there is a definite lack of variety and difficulty in these and WALL-E’s solo segments, initially they are somewhat entertaining and the controls are fairly solid.
In fact, the infrequent control problems found seem to stem almost exclusively from the game’s difficult to handle camera. While remaining perfectly still it is quite easy to direct the camera to an advantageous angle using the D-pad. However, the instant motion comes into play the camera breaks down. Shooting enemies is a fairly easy task until they get too close or return fire, as the resulting movement of WALL-E will send the camera spinning out of control and induce feelings of nausea. Using the D-pad to correct your view also does little good, since the camera will immediately begin moving again once you are done. This is often incredibly frustrating but can fortunately be somewhat alleviated by either planning ahead or just taking the resulting damage from holding your ground.
As a game with a difficulty level clearly aimed at a younger audience, getting damaged in WALL-E almost doesn’t matter. WALL-E will find many health stations and healing items throughout his adventures, and EVE just naturally regenerates. Even if players do happen to get destroyed, frequent checkpoints help to ensure there is absolutely no drawback for kicking the bucket. The lack of difficulty caused by this may turn off some, but it also results in an easily approachable title that likely will appeal to many younger and more casual gamers.
Graphically, this game is by no means on par with its incredibly beautiful movie counterpart. While this is to be expected, it would have been nice if their visual quality had been more similar. The characters still look very good but the game’s environments and cutscenes will frequently remind you are playing the game and not watching the film. Despite these discrepancies in the visual department, the game manages to capture much of the appeal of the film with its excellent character models and animations.
If you are a fan of the WALL-E film and don’t mind a somewhat easy and repetitive experience, this game should be right up your alley. Even with a fairly short single-player campaign, a plethora of multiplayer offerings help to make this game a more lengthy experience. While some of these modes are more fun than others, several can be rather entertaining distractions. Whether you play it alone or with friends, WALL-E succeeds at being an adequate movie-based video game with just enough charm and gameplay to win over a multitude of moviegoers.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
This game doesn’t look bad unless directly compared to the film. Bland and repetitive backdrops only slightly detract from some fairly good character models and animations. 2.2 Control
While everything may work well when stationary, moving about often results in some fairly nauseating camera issues. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
With music, sound effects, and voice work from the film, WALL-E’s audio is quite authentic. 2.5
Although the single-player experience is fairly short and simplistic, a slew of multiplayer options help to add longevity and variety to the gameplay.
2.7 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.