October 23, 2008

It isn’t every day that a portable version of a game manages to outshine its console-bound bigger brothers, but that is exactly what the PSP edition of Wall-E has managed to do. Wall-E, like many proud droids before him, exists solely to serve the humans that commissioned him. As the game opens he finds himself completely alone as the other robots set to clean up Earth have stopped functioning for one reason or another. After a few levels wandering around solo Wall-E runs into EVE, a reconnaissance robot from the Axiom. Eve teaches Wall-E that there is more to life than just picking up garbage and turning it into perfectly formed cubes.

Wall-E’s gameplay is fairly simplistic, which is to be expected for a handheld title. Wall-E spends the first few levels wandering through the myriad hazards of Earth looking for items that allow passage through the many locked doors. Like in the console versions, Wall-E is able to compact human’s litter into perfectly formed cubes. Basic cubes can be used as projectiles to attack enemies or open containers, magnetic cubes are good for attracting or repelling metallic objects, and explosive cubes are good for – well – exploding at things. Wall-E can also curl up into his hull like a turtle and use himself as a battering ram to smash through conveniently placed breakable walls.

After meeting EVE, Wall-E finds himself on board the space cruiser Axiom. The change in scenery brings about a change in gameplay elements as well. On the ship Wall-E is able to enlist the help of the Axiom’s android crew, and each crew member has access to a special ability that will help Wall-E through the whatever obstacle is blocking his progress. The whole concept feels a bit like Clank’s ability to control little robots in the Ratchet & Clank series. Wall-E also features a few minigames that serve to break up the levels. The assortment of minigames includes a rendition of Frogger, a race, and a space shooter where Wall-E takes control of the Axiom’s weapons systems.

Movie tie-in games are typically sub-par and aimed squarely at children who enjoyed the source material. Wall-E doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It’s still a movie game, and it’s still aimed right at the kids that enjoyed the movie, but it’s a good movie tie-in aimed at children. Wall-E offers only a little challenge, but the people interested in this title aren’t looking for difficulty on par with Metal Slug. Wall-E achieves what it sets out to do; it leads fans of the movie through the adventure again at home.

ESRB: E for Mild Cartoon Violence – Wall-E is appropriate for fans of the film
Pros: fun minigames, more Wall-E for fans of the movie
Cons: on the easy side
Plays like: the vast majority of movie tie-in platform games

Score: 3/5

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