pixieninja's Wall-E (Xbox 360) review

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The usual tie-in from Dinsey/Pixar's latest movie.

WALL•E is, as you'd expect, the gaming spin-off of the latest Disney/Pixar movie that's currently on the cinema. It follows the story of WALL•E, the last remaining robot on earth - the planet was abandoned 700 years ago by the human race due to the sheer amount of rubbish and pollution that they had created, and so they all headed to an orbiting ship called the Axiom. The manufacturer of the WALL•E robots, BnL, promised that the planet would be cleaned up in 5 years, allowing the ship to return to the planet, and yet 700 years later it's still a complete mess.  Periodically the Axiom sends a probe to check for plant life - EVE, and upon this visit WALL•E had found a plant growing in a boot, so he presents it to her, they fall into sweet robot love, and the story evolves from there.

The game is essentially a 3D platformer, which is somewhat of a sweeping generalisation these days. You progress through a few locales through the game, from Earth itself, to the Axiom, and into space too. Progress is often made by compacting down various forms of trash thanks to machines dotted around the level - you'll have a power source to repair these machines with, and then they eject some raw materials for you. WALL•E compacts these into cubes, and can then carry them around above his head. You can carry up to three of these cubes at any one time. Basic cubes are used the least of any, primarily to just through through BnL signs to enable access to various areas. Heavy cubes are often used to weigh down the ends of levers or to open doors, as well as having a use offensively. The most used of them all is the charge cube - these can be used offensively, as they explode upon impact, but can also be used to charge various pylons in the levels, or to activate nodes on some door related puzzles. The least used cube types is a magnetic one, which repels anything magnetic that you head towards - oddly enough, it's rarely used, appearing only in the latter levels of the game, and even then it doesn't contribute much at all to the overall gameplay.

The game presents it's environments well enough, and progression through these as WALL•E and EVE works pretty well. It can get a little hit and miss when you come to levels with magnetic walls however, as one minute you can get flung across/up them with so much force that you end up being thrust into oblivion, when other times you grind to a crawl, having to move from side to side to try and get off the magnetic surface.

Achievements are a decent spread - complete each level without dying; create a certain number of each different cube type, and 500 in total; collect various items from the different levels; finish mini-games successfully in various levels. They're simple enough to achieve, but some of the 'level without dying' ones can become frustrating at times, especially if they involve some of the unpredictable magnetic wall sections mentioned above. Definitely a decent contender for the achievement whores out there.

Longevity-wise, expect to churn through the game in around 6 hours or so, with some more time depending on how much of the game you have to repeat in order to gain collectables, achievements and such, and the age of the gamer. I don't think there's much replay value here, unless you're a huge fan of the movie. The game should appeal to children, but I would only imagine my own frustrations to be magnified when presented to a younger audience, so expect to be offering help at various points!

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