Wall-E DS Review

Disney and Pixar's WALL*E ruled the box office this past weekend with $62.5 million, and following close behind its ticket sales is THQ, hoping to capitalize with its line of 3-D video games. Its DS version, while cute and somewhat thoughtful, didn't hold our interests, thanks to boring puzzles and a bland presentation.

It's not like THQ deserves all the blame. WALL*E is, after all, a movie about a robot that collects garbage. Considering the developers couldn't screw with the license, they probably had little wiggle room to make this an action packed extravaganza and instead opted for a puzzle game where you, as WALL*E and his love interest, EVE, explore Earth and beyond, solving various challenges and combating enemies.

You'll do this by using the environment to your advantage, rolling around and tossing hunks of garbage to flip switches and propel WALL*E across chasms. There's standard issue gray colored garbage that you'll hit switches with, red explosive trash that knocks enemies into chasms and sends WALL*E flying and yellow garbage, which is magnetic and pulls him and other objects along for the ride. In addition, he has long, medium and short throws, accessed with the DS face buttons or the touch screen. For whatever reason, however, you can only maneuver him using the d-pad.

Initially, these puzzles offer a decent challenge and require some brain work, but developer Helize seemingly ran into trouble with the game's pacing. As a result, you'll need to complete more challenges than necessary and this is why the game lags. After fifteen minutes of chucking garbage and battling tornadoes (and this is very early in the game), you'll wonder when the level ends, hoping it concludes after reaching a certain area and then groaning when the game forces you to repeat the same tasks.

To break up the monotony, THQ lets you fly as EVE, navigating through chasms and other areas and dodging obstacles. It's a nice display of the game's 3-D engine, but isn't nearly as challenging as the puzzle segments.

As for presentation, WALL*E sports an attractive and simplistic art style that somewhat appears cell shaded. WALL*E animates well, grabbing the trash and compacting within his crusty innards. THQ and Helize also deserve praise for getting the game to run smoothly, though its audio occasionally disappears for a few seconds at a time.

To be fair, WALL*E is a decent game considering the source material, and kids will likely enjoy controlling the movie's stars and reliving moments from the film. However, the slow pacing, unnecessarily long levels and at times boring puzzles keep it from being as stellar as the movie it mimics.

What's Hot: Simple but attractive cut scenes, somewhat interesting puzzles, good controls.

What's Not: Levels drag on, you perform the same mundane tasks, audio sometimes disappears.

2/5