Developer: Eurocom | Publisher: Sierra Entertainment / Fox Interactive / Vivendi Universal Games | Release Date: 2005 | Genre: Platformer | Website: n/a | Purchase: Amazon
| Size: 256 MBit
Seemingly targeted at well meaning relatives who are clueless about the gaming industry, licensed titles based on movies have been stinking up store shelves since time immemorial. No self respecting gamer of any age would touch them, but there are few things more disheartening than opening a gift and finding one of them. There have been exceptions, of course, but Robots for the DS is not one of them.
Based on the CGI movie of the same name, Robots is a platform adventure starring our intrepid adventurer, Rodney Copperbottom. After traveling to the big city to show off his inventions to another famous inventor, Rodney instead uncovers a sinister plot that threatens all old and obsolete robots. While the game features characters and locations from the movie, it’s all as boring and uninspiring as you can get. The whole thing is just so genetic that it’s really hard to muster up any kind of interest. Your quest basically consists of platforming through the bland, empty environments, killing hostile robots or finding lost components for the friendly ones. A tedious boss fight breaks up the monotony every now and then.
Visually, the game is very underwhelming and it would appear that it is simply the Gameboy Advance version that has been recycled and “enhanced” with a few lackluster touch screen elements. You can create new weapons for Rodney by finding blueprints and parts which must be combined using the touch screen. Beyond that, the bottom screen is relegated to a map where you can scribble your own notes. It would have been useful if the game bothered to actually save these notes. The “transit” system is a sort of 3D half pipe where you have to roll a sphere and dodge slow moving traffic while hitting the speed strips. Failing simply restarts you at your destination, which makes the whole exercise pretty redundant. If you are feeling masochistic, you can replay these sections as well as a few equally uninspiring mini-games directly from the main menu once you unlock them.
The whole game is viewed from a skewed side-on perspective which makes jumps needlessly hard to judge. The game also has its fair share of annoying enemies like the robot dogs that latch on to you and flying bots that zap you. Once again, the perspective proves to be a hindrance as you flail away at enemies without hitting them. For the most parts the areas are so sprawling and devoid of life that boredom becomes your biggest enemy and not the dodgy collision detection.
The audio isn’t too bad, but that’s not saying much when the rest of the game is such a train wreck. I doubt that many people would want to suffer through the tired gameplay just to listen to the tunes. Even if you are a huge fan of the movie, there’s little reason to recommend this title. Yes, you’ll run into a few familiar faces from the film, but they simply appear cut and pasted into a boring, generic platform adventure.
While this was a great opportunity to showcase why the DS is superior to the Gameboy Advance it does exactly the opposite. Shoehorning in a few half-hearted, touch screen additions to an already below par Gameboy Advance game and then releasing it on the DS is a sure fire way to kill the system. Don’t support this laziness and don’t buy cheap cash-in products like this.
*Review originally published 2005.