Review by dotsdfe
"A lazy title meant to exploit the Doctor Who license."
Introduction - Doctor Who is a long-running sci-fi show with a massive fan base. As an avid fan of the series, I was excited when I heard news of a Doctor Who game. Though most games based off of shows are bad, I let myself become hopeful for this. Then I heard that it was a Top Trumps game, and became less excited. Still, when given the chance to play the game, I decided to give it a shot. What did I find? One very horrible experience.
Gameplay - 1/10
The gameplay in this title is quite interesting. And by interesting, I mean really, really bad. Essentially, the point of the game is that each player draws one card each, one at a time. Each of the very limited number of cards in the game has stats that are(supposedly) related to the character's in-show statistics. You can see your card, but not the opponent's. During your turn, you must choose one stat of your character. If it is higher than your opponent's, you win and obtain the opponent's card, then get to guess for two different cards.
The terrible gameplay is dragged down even further by the lack of cards. Considering almost no work was put into the cards themselves, it is completely unacceptable to have such a low amount of playable cards. This issue results in seeing the same few cards played over and over, adding to the already extremely repetitive nature of the game.
Abilities are added in, though most of them are rather pointless, as most of them simply make the game slightly less random, or to switch the cards up, which seems pointless(As it is still random). Some abilities are somewhat useful, such as adding random amounts to random stats on your characters.
The adventure mode mainly consists of playing as characters, one at a time, and defeating every other character, before moving on to the next character and doing the same. With almost no variation between playable characters, this becomes tiring very quickly.
Throughout the adventure mode, you will often be able to play minigames. These minigames, like the rest of the game, almost always rely completely on random guesses and luck. Sadly, these brief diversions are probably the most entertaining parts of the entire game, yet they are still uninteresting games of chance.
One other relatively minor complaint about this game is the control style. Like some DS games, you must hold the DS on its side to play this. However, unlike others, there is no right/left handed option. As a lefty, this became very annoying, very fast. It doesn't actually effect the gameplay very much, as it is very slow, but it is an annoyance, especially considering the game could easily be done with a normal DS style.
The very core of the game is absolutely flawed. It's just a game of high/low with the Doctor Who license tacked on to sell copies. The same effect can be obtained from a simple deck of playing cards, drawing a card, then guessing if the next number is higher or lower then the number you drew. To go through the adventure mode is simply repeating the same completely random task over and over for several minutes. In the end, the gameplay fails on almost every single conceivable level, and is rarely worth anything more than a cheap bit of fun when there is nothing else to do.
Story - NA/10
The game has virtually no story at all. The adventure mode is simply made up of moving from one character to another defeating every other character for no apparent reason. Some times, the opponents make no sense, anyway. Doctor VS Martha? Why? The lack of a story is completely lazy and unacceptable. It would be nice to have a reason for facing off against these people. Anyway, I can't rate something that doesn't exist.
Graphics/Sound - 2/10
The sounds of the consist of the same few tunes repeated over and over. Thankfully, they are rather quiet, so it is unlikely that you'll be paying much attention. When you are, however, the music will drive you insane. The only good part of the music for the game is the theme song at the beginning. But if you wanted that, why wouldn't you just watch the show?
The graphics are horrible, as well. The best graphics in the game are the blocky 3D planets you see in the story mode. The characters are reduced to cheap drawings that look nothing like their TV counterparts particularly the Doctor, Martha, and Jack, who look simply awful. These 2D drawings have two animations: Neutral and Lost a round, and transition lazily and immediately between the two. The card graphics are simply completely random snapshots of the characters from the show pasted onto a card with random stats. In addition, the pictures seem to be rather low-res, making them rather unattractive as a whole.
The presentation is, well, absolutely terrible. Lazy menus, bad audio, and horrible pictures that don't even resemble the characters of the show. Clearly a very lazy rush job in order to get the game out onto the market as fast as possible. This category only barely receives a 2 for having at least one good tune, and at least some attempt at good graphics.
Play time/Replayability - 2/10
With a lack of content, it's easy to rush through the story mode and be done within a matter of hours. However, this assumes that you are interested enough to play it to completion. The only challenge of the game is to see how long you can play without becoming bored out of your mind.
If you do manage to stay awake long enough to beat the story mode, replaying it is not really something that you'd want to do any time soon. Since every match is just like every other match, if you feel masochistic enough to keep playing, you might as well just play Quick Play rather than playing through the story again.
To the game's credit, there is a small handful of unlockables to make some ultimate goal to work towards. However, these unlockables are simply pointless. Most of what you unlock is further abilities to fight with. By the time you get all of these, there will be virtually 0 reason to actually continue, anyway. The other items to unlock are info cards about the cards. Except, these are simply 1-2 sentence explanations that anyone who actually watches the show will already know.
You will almost certainly become bored of the game within several minutes. You could complete everything in the game in an afternoon. Afterwards, you'll likely have no incentive to play the game ever again. However, I will give it a point for at least containing unlockables, as pathetic as those unlockables are.
Final recommendation - Avoid at all costs.
If you couldn't already tell by the rest of the review, I hated this game. Repetitive gameplay mixed with lazy graphics and audio, plus no story to give reason to finish the game, makes a terrible experience. Buying real cards is a much cheaper and less irritating experience. It's extremely clear that the game was made as a quick cash-in on the Doctor Who license and was rushed just to make a quick buck. Almost no effort was put into the creation of the game, which leaves a huge lack of fun overall. Avoid it at all costs.
Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 08/04/08
Game Release: Top Trumps: Doctor Who (EU, 05/16/08)
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