Developer – Savage Entertainment
Publisher - THQ
Wi-Fi compatible (Ad Hoc)
Memory stick duo 736 KB
While WALL•E-mania sweeps through the theatres, WALL•E is also making some noise on the home videogame front. The Disney Pixar movie is now on every conceivable gaming platform out there. THQ, along with Savage Entertainment, have brought Disney Pixar's lovable robot to the PSP. After enjoying the PS2 version of the game I looked forward to seeing how the game made the transition to Sony's portable machine, and after some playtime with the game my thoughts on the final product are mixed.
Although PSP version of the game resembles the PS2 quite a bit it just didn't have the horsepower to keep up. The PSP’s small TFT LCD screen is great to look at and the visuals are quite sharp, but you will find a lot of repeating textures and some framerate issues now and then. I found the game bogged down when trying to climb higher in some of the levels and it even began to show signs of clipping, although ever so slightly, when it framerate issues were at their worst. Most gamers will probably be those of the younger crowd, so they most likely won’t notice these issues that much, for older fans of the movie though they will most likely notice it. I also noted the stark and bland textures spattered throughout the game, but I’m really nit picking here. With a lot of gaming action going on very few people will notice this complaint. Finally, the PSP did have a few long load times, but nothing to troublesome.
The game's sound effects are one of the best features in the game. The external speakers do a pretty good job of projecting the music and voices in the game, but if you can use the headphones then please do. WALL•E on the PSP captures the sound of the movie quite well, with a number of segments that will make you laugh out loud, particularly with WALL•E's reactions. The little robot has a whole host of bleeps, whistles, etc, which boosts the audio effect on the senses tenfold. In fact I found EVE’s rocket booster flying thru both earpieces seamless and somewhat incredible. While the sounds in the game are pretty good the music is another matter. Most tracks are acceptable and match the game quite well, but hey get repetitious and boring after some game time. I found myself turning the music down, or even off, and feeding off the sounds of WALL•E himself.
WALL•E on the PSP is very similar to the PS2 version but the buttons can be a bit tricky to master. Players control WALL•E for most of the game, moving the little robot through various environments, solving puzzles, and defeating enemies. He can also transform into a box and charge through objects. This move not only gives him a speed boost, but it can be extremely useful for lining up jumps and charging through breakable objects. Most gamers will also find the maneuver pretty funny to look at. However, when considering the control I have to forewarn you that the analog nub isn't as good as an analog stick. I’ve never been a great fan of the PSP’s analog nub, and in this game it will have you frustrated more times than not. I found over and over again the lack of precise control would actually hamper the overall fun factor. The stick is just not sensitive enough for my liking, and I was constantly over or under compensating for this shortfall. This was in stark contrast the PS2’s analog stick which was almost too sensitive. So, some of you will find yourself repeating certain sections a few times as you try to hit the sweet spot.
WALL•E comes equipped with a laser that he can use to cut through objects, which can only be recharged with laser energy vials. He can also crush and throw boxes, some of which will contain the energy vials. WALL•E will use his entire arsenal to navigate through 27 separate levels of play. Throughout the game you will solve tons of puzzles that are essential to unlocking the next level of play. These puzzles can be environmental, such as vortexes that are powered by energy cubes that need to be shot with a laser before they disappear. Others are tied to access doors, which test your memory or pattern matching skills. Depending on the panel you will have to remember where certain colors are, trip a specific number of switches, or hit a button before time runs out. Elements like this add a mild but engaging challenge to the standard "find and switch" mechanic that can get fairly boring quickly. There are even energy dispensers that look a lot like slot machines that WALL•E will need to access to gain energy for his laser. Match the proper icon and he'll be rewarded; miss try again.
At the end of each level players receive points for completing stages, along with any mini-games that they might have unlocked by collecting artefacts or destroying all of the crates on a level. These points can be redeemed for bonus items, such as concept art, cheats, and short clips of animation that drive the game forward.
There is a very limited multiplayer feature on the PSP. You’ll have to have a friend with another copy, and another PSP of course, to take part in some Wi-Fi (Ad Hoc) gaming. You will partake in some of the mini-games you have unlocked or some of which are opened right away. I found the link to be very fast and pain free, and the games I played were pretty fun.
I wanted to like WALL•E on the PSP, but in the end it just didn’t have enough oomph for my liking. Compared to the PS2, the PSP is definitely the little brother of the two. While the gameplay is pretty solid, control issues and visual glitches take away from some of the fun. The game follows the movie for the most part so moviegoers and gamers alike will have something in common. At the end of the day fans of the movie should give this a look, but those going in without any knowledge of such should go in cautiously.