Wall-E, if you hadn’t noticed, is taking over the world. The latest blockbuster from Disney Pixar brings an invasion of merchandise and movie tie-ins, looking to cash in on the nag factor. But how does the game – launched on virtually all platforms no less – hold up?
Set some 700-odd years in the future, mankind has driven the planet into colossal mess and bailed out to live a life of gluttony and unabated consumerism somewhere in space. In their wake they left a planet in decay staffed by cutsy robots, content to sift though man’s detritus.
So launched into this thin parody of our apocalyptic future comes Wall-E, one of the aforementioned robots, who has developed himself something of a comedic personality. However we are not reviewing the film, but the game that follows the same track.
Being an animated movie lends itself incredibly well to computer gaming because you can render things closely from a graphics point of view. Whereas we might be interested in realism and how well the next-gen console waves the HD flag, this is not really the case in Wall-E, so graphically it is no surprise to find it looks like a cartoon.
Things aren’t perfect however and you’ll find that the only element that could possibly go wrong does, and that’s the camera that seems to have a mind of its own and an incredible ability to find a corner to look the wrong way in. Early on you’ll find Wall-E having to race to the leaving spaceship to rescue Eve, all the time running into the murkiness that comes with not being able to see where you are going.
That aside, the game is a fairly typical platformer where you navigate your way around different environments with options kept to pretty much a minimum. The environment might look interactive, but a lot of it isn’t. When you fly as Eve, if you get to the end of your playable area, you just bounce off the invisible wall and fly off in the other direction.
Frustratingly, as soon as you get to fly Eve, which is almost like pod racing in Star Wars, you get pushed into tunnels and passages to remove any sort of freedom that might have come with flying. Ok, there are some outdoor elements, but you never really get the chance to enjoy what could have been a thrill ride.
Despite Eve's somewhat questionable temper, love blossoms between the sentient beings and the adventure unfolds. Gameplay doesn’t blossom much and the same principles seem to exist as you progress so it does start to feel a little repetitive. For example, you destroy a number of robots, only to find you then have to do exactly the same, oh, and then some more and once you’re finished, the centre of the room pops-up to basically do the same thing again.
There are a spattering of cutscenes to pull the plot along, as Wall-E’s role consists of mainly travelling from place to place, activating vending machines and throwing cubes of garbage. Things get a bit better in some of the more interesting puzzles, but they are never really taxing, more time consuming as you activate a number of power modules placed miles apart.
There are also some other multiplayer games that may bring a little longevity to the game, allowing up to four friends to go head to head. There is also content to unlock, mostly concept art and the likes, as well as the list of collectibles to find around the game, which is a surprisingly high number and easily missed.
As movie tie-ins go, it’s not the worst out there but it is really just the film in game form, what you really lack here is any sense of purpose. There are a few hidden items dotted around, the odd character from other Pixar adventures to discover, but once you have completed a level there is little reason to go back and try again.
In terms of longevity, you’ll be lucky to get a weekend out of the game, but whilst it lasts it is fun and should keep kids out of trouble on a rainy weekend.