So, I hear you say you’ve never heard of Voltron before? If you have, you’ll know it was a popular television show in the eighties and has now graced our television sets once again in the form of Voltron: Defender of the Universe for XBLA and PSN. The title gives the impression that this is going to be the adventure of all adventures to save the universe but does it live up to its title?
So, as you may have guessed by now you are to save the universe and you do this by controlling one of five giant robot lions. These lions are piloted by men and when the situation requires they can all morph into Voltron, a giant robot made from the five lion’s bodies. The sad part is this happens only a few times in the game and leaves you wandering the earth in your less than capable lion for most of the story, but considering the enemies you are fighting aren’t very challenging, you don’t need the power of Voltron for the most part anyway.
There are three chapters with four levels in each and at the end of each level you will have the joy of controlling Voltron. In the remaining three levels, you are controlling your lion and will be taking out small ground robots, flying robots and men. The game is controlled using both analog sticks and is relatively easy to get to grips with. Your enemies don’t pose much of a threat and you’ll find that aside from the odd larger robot, they will go down in a hit or two and not respawn again. Aside from your regular guns that can fire in any direction, you also have a pounce ability that can be used to take out flying enemies but you’ll probably find it easier to just shoot them rather than timing a perfect pounce. While running around the world you will find some power-ups that boost your attacks but they don’t last very long and don’t tend to make much difference to the overall feel of the battles.
A frustrating part of the battles is, usually you are forced to stay in a certain area until you have cleared all the enemies, which can feel very restrictive. Also, there are times when you think you have killed all the enemies and are ready to move out of the restricted area but can’t because one pesky human is running around in the trees shooting you, and because he is so small you can hardly see him. Should a battle turn sour and your lion is damaged your pilot will be booted from it and you will be forced to survive for ten seconds while your lion repairs itself. These moments can be frustrating as your only weapon is a weak pistol and this makes the ten seconds feel like a lifetime. Should you require more lives you can collect the star pieces that are spread throughout the levels until you have five and this will reward you with an extra life.
The game has some nice features such as each level has an original clip from the classic television show to set the scene and the graphics, although simple, are quite pleasant to look at. The avatar award unlocking the moment you boot the game up is always a nice addition and the game also features multiplayer that supports both local and online play. However, this doesn’t really add much to the gameplay but it’s nice to see it included anyway.
If you are looking for a new dual stick shooter to play, Voltron: Defender of the Universe isn’t going to satisfy your thumbs for long and with a price tag of 800 Microsoft Points, your money could be better spent on some of the other games that have been available for quite some time.