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You may find it hard to believe, but I find holidays a little boring. I am not a rich person and the vast amounts of money earned here on Dooyoo is not quite enough to go abroad. Therefore, each summer I have 2/3 weeks were I am pretty much stuck in the house or about town. For this reason I decide that a visit to Blockbuster video is needed and some games to be rented. Unfortunately for me the holidays I have more often or not correspond with those of school children. This means that the selection on the shelves is not as abundant as one would hope. For a couple of years now the only games that I have not played that I can rent are movie tie in games - traditionally the worst type of game. It was for this reason that I rented 'Meet the Robinsons' (MTR), having liked the film and as a fan of platformers, I thought I would give it a try. If only I had been 10 years olds ...
The children's film tie-in is the last bastion of platforming it seems today. Therefore, as the 360 is almost completely devoid of platforming games, except for the likes of 'MTR', I am forced to play them for my jumping kicks. 'MTR' is a very generic third person 3D platformer that sees you star as Wilbur Robinson from the films. You are given a variety of tasks by your eccentric family and must jump and shoot your way to each goal.
To make the game slightly more interesting there are various different weapon types that Wilbur gets to use. There is a scanner that gives you information about an object, a gun type weapon, an electricity weapon, a burrowing weapon and a weapon that disintegrates objects into base particles. You can collect these particles and use them in a machine to invent new power ups for yourself e.g. better health.
In terms of gameplay the platforming is ok with the camera doing a decent job keeping you in the action. I did enjoy swapping weapons depending on the situation, but at this point I realised that the game was pretty challenging. For a game aimed at a young audience I actually feel that it may be too complex for many children to get past the first few levels. Disney Interactive would have been better suited sticking to a simple platforming mechanism that kids could pick up and play. As it is it is a slightly challenging game that I found too samey towards the second half. (2 out of 5)
The majority of characters from the film are present in the game, but the only one who gets any real development is Wilbur himself. The rest of the cast are peripheral to the game. In some cases e.g. the twins hiding in the flower pots, the additional characters are highly annoying. I felt there was a possibility to really use the 'MTR' IP but the makers failed to do so. Therefore the characters and story become a little redundant. (2 out of 5)
The length of the game impressed me as it was at least 10 hours long. For a child who may only get a few games a year this offers good value for money as they can play and replay the game. However, I actually felt that it was a little too long as the gameplay is not adventurous enough to interest an older gamer like myself for that length of time. The first part of the game is fun, but as you draw towards what you assume is the finish you are actually faced with a lot more game - this did not appeal. As usual on the 360 there are also numerous achievements to earn. Most of these are gained by completing the game, but there are a couple that increase lifespan including one that requires you to scan all objects in the game - no easy task. (3 out of 5)
One of the benefits of HD gaming is that there are no real stinker in terms of graphics anymore. The relative quality has gone up so much that even the worse 360 is on par with the best original Xbox games. 'MTR' looks pretty good and the graphics are clear enough and follow the style of the film. However, there is little to get excited about and in some cases clipping is found. (3 out of 5)
'Meet the Robinsons' is a very mixed bag in terms of level design. On a couple of occasions I came across some rather intelligent puzzles that required skill and knowledge. However, it also seems that different parts of the game were produced by different teams as the quality varies dramatically. The majority of levels are pretty dull, especially the opening Robinson house. I also found myself retracing areas too often for my liking. (2 out of 5)
The film on which this game is based on is full of exhilarating sounds. However, this did not translate to the game. The actors voice their characters, but the number of sound bites is too small with only the robot and Wilbur having any real depth. I also felt that the ambient sounds were poor, drifting in and out at inappropriate times. Some sounds proved highly annoying e.g. the Uncles screaming or the train. (2 out of 5)
Depending on who is playing this game makes a difference. From a child's point of view it is a decent length, ok platformer that may prove a little difficult. For an older gamer it is a fun yet generic platformer that will probably grow boring before the end. On the 360 there is little to compare it to, but the likes of 'Kameo' and 'The Simpsons Game' are a lot better. If you see a copy for cheap and you have young children then this game is probably worth £10 or so. For everyone else it lacks anything to make it stand out of the crowd. (2 out of 5)
Maker: Disney Interactive RRP £50
Amazon uk £19.99