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Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Asobo
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Platformer/ Action/ Family

Graphics & Sound:
The age of the PS2 definitely shows, but the fact that it still keeps on kicking is a tribute to its staying power. Disney Pixar's Wall-E does a very fine job of keeping with the times as best it can graphically with some great environments and characters. While the visuals are sometimes a bit on the basic side, they still give a great feel for the movie-turned-game and definitely don't distract.

When it comes to audio, however, Wall-E really does make you feel like the last robot on earth. Quite frankly, the same music over and over and over and over and over... do you get the point? ...is quite annoying and repetitive after a while. Considering that Wall-E the robot has been listening to it for over 700 years blows my mind. He has a lot more patience than I do.

Like the movie of the same name, Wall-E's dialogue is all but absent. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it is possible that the younger audience that this game is geared toward may not understand the story as much. Dialogue is basically restricted to the names of the two star robots, Wall-E and Eve (pronounced "Eve-A").

Playing THQ's (and Asobo Studio's) Wall-E is basically like playing a game of "go fetch". Because the entire basis of the title is to find all of the energy bars which give you access to the next area, the game can feel quite repetitive. Along the way, there are also opportunities to find secret artifacts, which can easily be missed as you need to stop what you're doing and look around in first-person view to first find the artifacts, then you'll be able to go dig them up. The artifacts are basically interesting tools or toys from today's age, as Wall-E is set some 700 years in the future. It's interesting to note that one of the artifacts happens to be the dinosaur from Pixar's Toy Story series. Nice touch.

As previously mentioned, to further the story of Wall-E, you'll need to gain access to some doors using energy bars that you collect, and you'll also be able to challenge yourself to find all of the artifacts (in most levels) and break open all of the crates (again, in most levels), but it does a nice job of throwing some tiny mini-games in to break up the gameplay and add a little puzzle action to the otherwise repetitive nature of the game.

Other doors within certain levels will require everything from finding matching colors, toggling switches to match the pattern shown, or playing back a sequence that is given to you reminiscent of the old Simon game from the '80s, among others. You'll also have access to different types of friendly robots that will help you on your journey, whether it is to light the path in dark areas, help you get through certain security doors, or smash blocks in your way. There's even an umbrella robot, whose use is to allow Wall-E to jump on it and gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas.

Keeping in mind that Wall-E can't access high areas (his jumping is very limited) without a ramp, you'll also have to keep your eyes open for places to throw blocks at, either to trigger puzzles and gain access to the next area or to simply break other crates and get energy, health, or laser power. In some levels, you'll actually take control of Eve (when you're not busy chasing her down with the love-struck Wall-E) and be able to fly through timed levels while shooting down crates and fallen obstacles. Wall-E also has driving levels like this.

The thing that strikes me about Wall-E, however, is that the game feels a bit rushed. While it is certainly entertaining, it is overly repetitive and lacks ingenuity. There are many moments within the game where thoughts of "I've done this before" may cross your mind (at least for the older crowd). Besides the Matching and Simon mentioned before, I also felt like some of the flying levels were very reminiscent of games like Sewer Shark, and there were multiple blatant rip-offs of an all-time classic, Frogger, just to name a few.

Regardless of the similarities to other games, Wall-E's difficulty is likely just about right for the younger gamer. The puzzles are certainly not difficult, but will require some basic skills that kids have already experienced. Some of the timed levels may take a few tries, and there are a few puzzles that will definitely make them think, but kids will likely find Wall-E to be at about the perfect difficulty.

Anyone over the age of ten or twelve, however, may be a bit disappointed by Wall-E's difficulty. For them, the game will likely go by quite quickly, as it only took less than six hours to beat the single-player (main) part of the game. Fortunately, the mini-games offer some replayability for both single players and multiple friends. Platforming purists will also likely go back and try to find all artifacts and crates to get a perfect score.

Game Mechanics:
Wall-E's controls are very easy to get used to, and the tutorial levels at the beginning of the game will help teach you exactly how to perform Wall-E's moves to complete each level. There are also informational screens that help as you get to different sections of the game, but they are only text-based, so very young gamers may need a hand in understanding what to do. Other than that, the controller feels quite natural in the hands, and it won't take long to get Wall-E moving with ease.

While Wall-E is certainly a good game, it was severely disappointing to get through the entire game (minus missing a few artifacts and crates along the way) in less than six hours. To make matters worse, the game was a bit too repetitive, and some of the levels felt like they had longer cut-scenes than actual gameplay. The 27 levels may look like a lot, but they go by rather quickly. Fortunately, after beating the game, you'll still have a few new challenges that open up to give a little extra, which may prevent the feeling of being cheated out of your money (but only a little bit).

For young gamers, Wall-E is certainly going to be a fun game for a while. The multiplayer mini-games that you unlock as you clear single player levels will definitely help add replay value to the game too. Wall-E is definitely worth a rent, but it's hard to fully recommend a game that is so short in nature.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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