Review by mikaa
"Meet the Wasted Potential"
As a gaming brand, Disney is not exactly a name that brings the concept of quality to mind. With the exception of the suprise "hit" (as far as a non-Nintendo game on the DS goes), Disney games on the DS are licenses slapped together with a few mini-games for the under-ten crowd.
Naturally, once in a while Disney finds its name on something with an all-age fun factor attached. Spectrobes is one such game (assuming you are into that type of game), and Meteos: Disney Magic (basically the same game as Meteos in theory, with new twists and Disney's stable of licenses) is another.
So would I go as far to say that Meet the Robinsons is one such game, above the other Disney fare (ie - That's So Raven)?
Don't get me wrong here; there is a decent attempt at something more than the usual DS third-party mini-game intense game with a license thrown on. Ironically, from what I am told, people that have seen the movie tell me that the DS release actually has very little to do with its movie license, outside of some potential time-traveling aspects and some characters.
Assuming this is true, this is both good and bad. The fact that the plot doesn't follow the movie verbatum is either good or bad, if you care about such things. But the plot that is actually used (your time ship is swiped, and your attempts to retrieve it change the "future") makes for a better game, even if it only spans four worlds.
Yes, four worlds. The last time I played a game with so few overal areas to play with, it was an old Game Boy title. Most modern releases try for at least five or six (either main or with an extra tacked on at the end for that last boss), so finding only four worlds is kind of annoying. Thankfully, there are enough missions in each to keep things going.
Or keep things going as long as you can do the same task over and over. The basic mission goals are so generic, it's not funny. Kill X robots, build this item, collect X items for item, repeat. A few non-essential tasks become appealing as a break of pace (namely collecting all Robinson logos all over the worlds), but aside from upgrading your weapons and making health items, and maybe going after the worst named villain in history, there's little else to do.
Thankfully, the controls are solid for the most part, with a few issues to keep them from perfect. The D-pad moves you around (and as far as I can tell, there is no way to alter this), the face buttons allow you to fire/use one of three weapons, while a fourth causes you to roll. Note that these four buttons have counterparts on the touch screen (though tapping the character causes the rolling instead of the three item touch buttons). L and R (or the icon on the screen) allows the screen to rotate, and a bar on the side of the screen (touch only) moves the camera up and down. Finally, the touch screen is used to tap targets to lock on to them. Sadly, this last function is touch only, making combat frustrating for the target audiance.
The audio is about as bland as a loaf of bread, but is not horrid enough to turn off. Voice clips are nowhere to be found, and all main effects are about as cliche as can be.
The biggest reason to look at this game, though, is the real reason people should take notice of this game: graphics. While a handful of third-parties can come close to Nintendo's own projects (Metroid Prime Hunters is still hailed as one of the best 3D games on the system, with Bionicle Heroes a close second), few third-party games can come close. Granted, many companies can pull off great 3D effects on the system (Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. and Sega's Sonic Rush), full 3D games are not too common.
Which is why Meet the Robinsons is noteworthy. A full 3D game with a very smooth frame rate, with insane details for the dual screen handheld, and a main character that is very acurate to the source material (unlike Spectrobe's N64-looking hero in battle mode). It is true that many games have surpassed these effects on other systems, but for the DS, the graphics are easily one of the best seen on the system.
There is a multi-card ping-pong like game for use, but the multi-card description says all of what needs to be said.
In short, not the greatest game, and not Disney's greatest DS effort. Still, the potential is there for another game to make better use of the game engine. Just not Meet the Robinsons.
Score: 5 of 10
+ Best Features: Graphics, tolerable music, solid controls
- Worst Features: Tired and boring game play, tolerable music, plot does not follow movie, E10+ ESRB rating ensures target audiance will not play it, lock-on command touch screen only
* If You Liked: Monster House (DS), Meet the Robinsons (PS2)
* Guilty Pleasure: Finding out just how great this looks, and the fact that Disney is finally learning to put some effort into their DS games...
- (Ugly) Reality: ...effort that EA Games needs to pick up with. Seriously, EA has talented developers and programmers, so why is Disney pulling ahead?
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 05/29/07, Updated 11/20/07
Game Release: Disney's Meet the Robinsons (US, 03/27/07)
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