Earth is a big planet. At first glance it seems not so bad, but when you are all alone it is obvious. Fortunately, there are still fellow humans around us. In the near future, however, only one tiny robot will remain on Earth, Wall∙E. He has been left to clean up the mess of humans.
Where oh where should they go?
On the Nintendo DS, you’ll have to help him move the trash. You will have to solve all puzzles in which the transport of waste cubes is central. One such puzzle usually consists of four or five different parts. Once you open the door of the area you can move on to the next area until you solve the last area. In the beginning it is all very simple and the switches on which you have to throw a cube are very easy to find. Further in the game the puzzles can sometimes get very tough. This is mainly due to the many monsters that walk around in the area. At first you only have tornadoes that push you aside when you get too close to them, so that you end up in a canyon, for example. Later, however, you’ll encounter much more annoying creatures, such as a robot pelting you with red lasers or tornadoes with an electric field around them.
When you get hit by one of these things, or if you fall into a hole, a dash from your life meter will disappear at the bottom of the screen. In total you have five lives. If you lose one, just start over in the area you left. However, if you lose all five lives, you will be thrown all the way back to the beginning of the puzzle. Fortunately, you are not completely helpless against your enemies. There are different types of blocks. You have the normal ones that do nothing, red, yellow and blue. Especially the red ones are very useful against enemies. These explode and push everything aside with a small shock wave. This way you can easily push enemies into abyss. However, you can also use them to blast yourself over small ramps so you can jump over a gap. The yellow blocks attract all living things when they explode. So you can also use this to pull enemies into the depths and let yourself jump over slopes.
Almost no artificial intelligence
The blue blocks form an electric field around them that temporarily paralyzes everything in them. Wall∙E can also be paralyzed by this, but luckily most enemies are so stupid that you won’t have any problems with this. For example, they will stand still with your cubes and are then defeated. You can also defeat some enemies through their bad AI. There are robots that come at you as soon as they see you. If you then stand in front of a hole and move to the side just before, they will drive into the hole without any problems. This is one of the points where you can just see that Wall∙E is just a game made for the younger audience. Another point is the lack of variety. Much more than the things I said above can’t be done in the game.
The appearance that there is variation is kept up by some special missions. These come along regularly from the point in the story where you encounter EVE. In this you control EVE through a straight, continuous path, in which she has to avoid all kinds of obstacles. The only goal you have in this is to make it to the end before time runs out, or your lives run out. These are still quite entertaining in the beginning because you get a distraction from the puzzles for a while. However, the longer you play them, the more boring they become. They’re just too similar, which just makes it seem like they’re alternating, when it’s just the same idea for levels.
Attempt to create a challenge
Something that THQ has tried to do is create a challenge for the player. They did this by hiding coins in all levels. If all the coins are collected at the end of a puzzle or EVE mission, you have unlocked a nice screenshot from the movie. In itself, this is still a reasonable reward, as they look nicer than all the other images in the game. Unfortunately, there are only twenty-two pieces in total. Visually, Wall∙E is very disappointing. THQ has not tried to transfer the images from the film to the small screens as beautifully as possible. Instead, they have developed a completely unique graphic style. In principle there is not much wrong with that. However, the images are very blocky, so that they even manage to make the cutscenes ugly. Of course a small child will not be bothered by that, but the DS has proven over the years that it can produce beautiful images. As far as I’m concerned, THQ could have put a little more effort into this.
The same goes for the sound. Little will be spoken in the film, but in the game, in addition to the voices, the music is also removed. All you hear are the high-pitched sounds enemies make when they see you, or the sound of Wall∙E’s tracks. Because of the lack of music you don’t get into the atmosphere of the story at all. Fortunately, the cutscenes still contain enough humor to douse this problem a bit. So it’s not all very well put together.
I can’t understand why this DS version of Wall∙E got such high marks in America. The elements of the puzzles are quite intuitive, but they are too few to be used as often as they are in the game now. Wall∙E therefore lacks variety. The missions where you can play as EVE are fun in the beginning, but later on they also become boring and only help further the demise of the game. The artificial intelligence of the enemies is also not very good. They are usually very silly and easy to beat. It is therefore really a game for younger children. Graphically, Wall∙E really disappoints. The images are very blocky and really substandard. Even with the sound it goes wrong. The lack of music doesn’t help at all in setting the atmosphere, whereas the cutscenes do this a bit. So even if you like puzzle games, I’d leave it alone. However, if you still want to please your children after seeing the film, Wall∙E is still a reasonable choice for the DS.
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