Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals (DS)

By Amanda Randolph

Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Gamelength: 9.00

Excavate, awaken and raise Spectrobes to save the Nanairo Star System once more in this sequel brought to life by Disney Interactive.

You take on the role of Rallen, a Nanairo Planetary Patrol Officer, to save the galaxy from the Krawl. You are assisted by Jeena and several other NPCs who provide tips, tricks and will put you through training. This game has an abundance of tutorials, which is a very nice feature for the younger crowd the game is intended for. Literally, everything is taught to you.

The game is rendered in three-dimensions with bright cartoon-like colors that are attractive to the eye. Some backgrounds tend to look very blocky and in some areas are very minimalistic in detail, almost too much so, but the outside areas usually are very nicely detailed with animated weather patterns. The characters are nicely rendered, with good movement and color. There are a few cut-scenes in the game, that are actually very beautiful and smooth in movement. When characters speak to each other, they come up as two-dimensional drawings in the foreground. These are actually very charming, as their faces and bodies react and change with emotion. The art these is also very cartoony, but works very well with the game. The Spectrobes are very Asian inspired, there is one resembles a guardian temple dog. They are extremely colorful and a neat concept is their hue is decided by your voice.

Attacks and actions are extremely simplistic and easy to remember. Normal attacks are done through repetitive button mashing with bigger attacks being a one push method. The characters react smoothly to the controls, though some attacks have a large delay leaving you open to enemy attack. The enemy AI is actually very smart, they enemies will shift and move away from you. The one problem during battle is the camera, it is only operated by one button; causing you to have to turn the character towards your intended enemy and then shift the camera. This leaves you wide open as well, as enemies tend to switch their paths constantly.

The gameplay is can become a little repetitive as you will spend much of it excavating minerals and Spectrobes. You can choose to raise as many spectrobes as you want, but sometimes the minerals you need will be hard to find. The missions and story are fun and very easy to go through. The character’s unique personalities are the biggest plus for this game, with your main being an eager to achieve but goofy guy. A neat feature is the ability to battle others online with your raised Spectrobes. The loading on battles can get extremely slow so prepare for a small wait before each one.

The soundtrack is very pleasant and slightly bubbly, even in battles. The sounds effects are realistic, clean and sync up very nicely. During big attacks in Spectrobe battles, the sounds tend to become static-y, even at a low volume.

In all, Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals is an extremely fun and easy to play game. With a unique way to obtain your Spectrobes, it is a welcomed twist to the pet-raising game genre.

Overall Rating: 9.00

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