It is understandable for any gamer to dismiss a game that originates as a film; this is simply an automatic defence that comes from years of appalling film based games. Disney’s Meet the Robinsons should not be labelled with the typical stereotype of a film based game though, as it actually breaks such a mould. Whilst the game does not push the limits or reinvent the wheel, Meet the Robinsons takes solid game designs of old and creates a well rounded package with a high quality finish.
Jumping into the shoes of Wilbur Robinson, son to parents of a tech savvy culture, you find life revolves around out of this world inventions. Unfortunately you soon discover that a mysterious character simply known as the ‘Bowler Hat Guy’ has stolen the Robinsons’ time machine and flies off into the past to change present events. Trying to track down the ‘Bowler Hat Guy’ and get the time machine back, you venture through a plethora of rich and detailed worlds that vary in visual style and offer different styles of gameplay. Some environments are from the past, some from the future and some are repeated areas that have been affected by changes in history (and these are huge changes). All of the stages and scenarios have been polished and well designed.
The game plays in a style similar to that of Zelda, Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider and Jak & Dexter combined. What is truly surprising is that the game actually does a good job at recreating many aspects of all these games. Whilst it is understandable that the game is not at the level what you would expect from each of the mentioned titles, Meet the Robinsons still does a fantastic job at emulating their success. For anyone that is unfamiliar with such games, you play from a third person perspective whilst trying to solve puzzles and defeat enemies using a range of tools you get from progressing through the game. You can navigate quickly and easily through different gadgets using the right shoulder button, target with the left (which opens up strafe movement and the ability to quick jump and roll), complete context sensitive tasks with the A button (such as examine and communicate) and lastly use the gadgets with X, Y and B. Everything from controlling Wilbur’s movements to aiming the varied gadgets is rather simple and takes little time to master.
Nearing the end of the game, you will have collected a total of five gadgets, all providing vital tasks in completing puzzles and advancing through the game; be it levitating objects, burrowing through the floor, blasting enemies or even disassembling items. Whilst this idea is basic in concept you will find that the concept can become quite complex, mixing up different gadgets becomes common, for example requiring you to levitate objects whilst triggering switches from afar using another gadget.
On top of this, Meet the Robinsons has surprising depth with additional minor features that help create a long list of achievable elements. You can disassemble everyday objects for resources and turn them in for unlockable items, complete a range of enjoyable mini-games from Super Monkey Ball style antics to basic Pong style competitions, scan a vast amount of items to enable secret unlockables or access secret areas that require you to back track through the game when you have unlocked more gadgets. Thanks to good rewards and curiosity, you will no doubt venture back to rediscover missed opportunities, adding replay value to an otherwise single-play experience.
Graphically the game fits the movie perfectly, with a cartoon cell shaded graphical representation that resembles the film. Whilst the game will not win any advanced graphic technique awards, the game has been designed with a particular style in mind and has done well to create it. Each vast environment features unique models, textures and overall design that, whilst continuing the running style of the game, keep the game fresh and varied.
Thankfully the overall audio presentation is equally great, from the background music to the voice acting. You will find that the voice acting of various characters for the game has been performed by the original actors in the film. It is also worth adding that they have done a fantastic job, bringing the characters to life once again. As for the background music, it will vary depending on the current scenario but will usually feature a pleasant relaxed beat with various string instruments. All in all everything from the background music and sound effects to the voice acting help create an overall atmosphere that fits perfectly with the game design.
Overall Meet the Robinsons provides a long and enjoyable experience with much to offer players of all ages, but particularly younger gamers due to the nature of the game and generally easy puzzle design. As a nice bonus the achievements have been well tailored to be easily obtainable whilst forcing players to view all the game has to offer.