Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile
Ratchet and his partner Clank are going mobile... We have the full preview.
I've been really digging cell phone games lately, so much so that I'm upset that my current handset wasn't built to play them (oh Verizon...so mean to me). However, I have the privilege of checking out a plethora of hot titles, the latest of which is Sony Pictures' pint-sized version of the best-selling PS2 franchise, Ratchet & Clank. At first glance it appeared to be simplistic, but after delving into a few of its levels and using several of the game's weapons, it proved that looks can be quite deceiving.
The mobile version of Ratchet & Clank is a 2D side scrolling game that features Sony's dynamic duo. In it, our heroes have been invited by Microcorp to use this new machine called the Biological to Digital Matter Transfer Computer. Unfortunately, as good old Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi once said, "It's a trap"! The device shrinks them down into digital matter (so they're basically stuck inside of your cell phone), and upon their arrival they're attacked by the nefarious Dr. Nafarious. There are evil robots and other critters stalking them and, playing as Ratchet, you must beat and blast the heck out of them and search for a way out.
Sony's done a nice job with this game, instilling it with solid elements from the console series while at the same time setting it within this old school NES-like backdrop that really looks impressive considering the platform. There are ten levels in the game (with five more Arena Levels, which are basically the same environments but with various objectives), and each of them looks and feels different, as there are several enemy types to smash and objects to make use of.
In typical platform game fashion, Ratchet can wall jump, grind on poles, and swing about. Plus, and keeping with series tradition, there is a host of over the top weapons at your disposal. To start all you have is a melee attack, but over a very short period of time you'll pick up the Gravity Bomb, Mini Rocket, and the Boarzooka (which turns your enemies into tiny boars), among other cool devices.
As I played the game I found Ratchet & Clank to be a simple title that has a satisfying amount of depth. For the most part you're just blasting enemies (which is fine by me), but there's also an inordinate amount of boxes lying about that are just begging to be smashed to bits, and doing that is a game in itself. Also, navigating through the levels is actually a lot of fun because they're surprisingly big and varied considering the platform. Plus, at the conclusion of each level you can upgrade your weapons and/or purchase items from a store, which gave me something else to look forward to aside from reaching the next stage.
Although I had a fun time with this title it's far from perfect, though it still has several more months of dev time to go. Some of the jumping is a little off, which makes reaching ledges more difficult than it should be, but I expect that to be tweaked.
In addition to the game, Sony's also going to make some sweet Ratchet & Clank Phone Candy available. The lineup includes 20 wallpapers, 5 ring tones, 20 screensavers, 3 video ringers, 3 video screen savers, and finally, 1 active screen saver. This way, if you get the unavoidable urge to represent, you can show everyone that you HEART Ratchet & Clank even when you're not playing.
Personally, I think Sony Pictures has done an impressive job with the mobile version of Ratchet & Clank and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some review code. It's just a fun little platform game that's easy to pick up yet it presents us with a challenge rarely seen in cell phone titles. If you have Ratchet posters on your bedroom wall or you're just looking for a solid adventure game for your Nokia, LG, or whatever you own, be sure to check this game out when it's released October 2005.