Slingshot a tiny alien home in this cute yet flawed platformer.
In previous platform games, we've seen characters rebound off bumpers or walls to reach parts of a level. Sonic the Hedgehog immediately comes to mind, as well as Sony's happy-go-lucky LocoRoco. Konami built an entire game based on this formula with its newest Nintendo DS release, WireWay. While it has moments of innovation, thanks to its springy gameplay, a couple of problems keep it from shooting skyward.
In the game, you play as a virtual guide to Wiley, a troublesome alien that strayed away from his ship while exploring Earth. He needs to get back to it, but the journey is anything but easy. As his assistant, you'll attach him to wires, shooting him to newer sections of each stage so he can move on. Through the game's 40 stages, you'll find obstacles in his way, including spiked floors and pinball bumpers.
Throughout the game, you'll yank black cables strewn throughout each stage, allowing Wiley to latch onto them. Precision aiming is key, because sending him the wrong way could result in hitting an obstacle or the alien coming right back at you. There's some frustration in this, because in some stages, you can't clearly see what lies ahead, since the camera makes things too close. As a result, you'll do a lot of trial-and-error, flicking Wiley around just to figure out where to go next. It's not horrible, but it leads to repeatedly doing the same thing.
If you can overlook the repetitive routine, WireWay has plenty of modes to enjoy. Along with the 40 stages in the main mode, there's also a Strategy Mode, where you'll need to draw your own path, via black cables and pinball bumpers, to help Wiley reach his destination. This mode relies on creative construction, and it really puts your mind to work. If you have friends around, you can also engage in a quick multiplayer race, seeing who gets their Wiley to their spaceship first. It's just too bad the Strategy Mode doesn't have multiplayer.
WireWay doesn't have much in terms of visuals and music, but what's here works. Wiley is an adorable alien, perfect for all ages. The stage design is innovative, especially the later levels where you'll scratch your head, figuring out the correct route while avoiding spiked floors. The music isn't bad, and the sound effects offer plenty of "sproing" noises, but not much else. It's also worth noting that Wiley doesn't speak, so you won't have to put up with an irritating voice.
Had Konami considered a wider camera display and additional multiplayer modes, WireWay could've been a huge hit. If you can accept these shortcomings, the game's worth a try. The cool presentation and multiple modes might be enough to give this cute little alien a home.
What's Hot: Unique rubber band style gameplay, Multiplayer Race Mode is a nice addition, pleasant visuals and music, Strategy Mode lets you figure out your own patterns.
What's Not: Repetitive gameplay, it's hard to line up shots when you can't see what lies ahead.