DS: Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals
Published by Disney Interactive Studios
Developed by Jupiter Multimedia
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+
I’m going to be honest with you and tell you upfront that I didn’t have too high of hopes for this game. The cover art and knowing it was a Disney Interactive Production just didn’t leave me filled with confidence. After playing it for a couple of hours, I found out why.
You are Rallen and you have to save the whole Universe from the Krawl. But don’t worry, you get help from Jeena as well as some Spectrobes that you awaken and then grow. You chase these High Krawls from planet to planet and then through portal after portal. Each time you are encounter more Krawl and more enemies. You’re good, the Krawl are bad, and you are the only thing standing in the way of their total Universe domination. Are you up for the challenge?
The enemies that Rallen fights come in the form of a floating ball. Some are fiercer than others. There are some who even shoot at you and cause you a lot more harm than the initial ones you run into. You don’t always encounter these floating balls but when you do it’s worth fighting them since they will leave you with orbs that will either heal you or heal your Spectrobes.
The Spectrobes come into play when you run into Vortexes. Only Spectrobes can fight inside of them so make sure you have your best fighters with you. Each Vortex can have a different amount of enemies inside of them. Most of them have 2 but I’ve run into some with 4. As with the floating balls that Rallen encounters, there are some enemies that are harder to fight than others. This is no surprise the further you get into the game.
My problem with this game is the repetitious manner in which you are ALWAYS digging/excavating for minerals/fossils. You are supposed to do this in every screen you’re on when you’re on a planet. This is how you find your Spectrobes (in the form of fossils), get minerals to feed your Spectrobes, and weapons/armor for your Spectrobes (in the form of mystery rocks).
You repeat this motion SO MANY times in this game that it gets really old, really fast. Because it gets old really fast you find yourself just skipping it. Of course there are times when you’ll need to in order to get new fossils and then in turn get more minerals to feed those fossils once you wake them up. So sometimes you can avoid the excavating, other times you can’t.
This game takes advantage of both the D-pad/buttons as well as the touch pad. You need the touch pad in order to excavate the fossils/minerals. I find that the stylus is handy for this since you need the pointy end of it to clear off parts of the fossil in order to achieve 100% on them. If you hit the fossil/mineral too hard you’ll hear a cracking sound. Crack it too many times and you’ve pretty much lost it and don’t gain much in the way of experience points.
The D-pad and buttons are used for moving Rallen and the Spectrobes around on the screen. You also need the D-pad for the couple of times you travel through the portals to avoid the big rocks that will damage your ship as you pass through.
The controls are not complicated and they do the job they are intended to do. Using the stylus and the touch pad for excavating is cool at first but then just gets boring and repetitious. You could try using your finger but unless you have pointy fingernails, it doesn’t work as well as you might think.
The Graphics didn’t “wow” me but they didn’t disappointment me either. So it’s safe to say that they were mediocre to good. Some of the items were pretty small and a lot of the fossils looked alike so you had to press down on them with the stylus and wait for the name to come up before knowing which one was which.
The Battle sequences were all similar too. You touch a Vortex and the Spectrobes come out. The inside of the Vortexes were pretty similar with the enemies being the only thing that really changed from one to the other.
There’s not much to impress you here but then there was nothing that annoyed me either so I gave it a middle of the road grade on it. You get some sound effects when excavating, when battling, and when you’re in your ship. The music was alright but forgettable.
The card input machine was pretty cool to use. You’re given 5 cards in your game pack and once you reach a certain level in the game you’re able to use the card input machine. You slide the card on the touchpad and then you press the dots in order to receive a Spectrobe or some other “prize.”
The Storyline was alright, the gameplay was disappointing with how repetitious it was, but I could see this being a hit with some of the older kids/younger teens who know what Spectrobes are. This isn’t anything that I would recommend to just any gamer since there are far better games out there for you to spend your money and your time on.
Storyline – 7.5
Gameplay – 3
Controls – 7
Graphics – 7
Audio – 5
Buyability – If you’re a Specrobes fan or a fan of Anime Collector cards then you may find this game fun and entertaining. If you’re not a fan of either, like me, then this is a game you might want to think of passing up and looking for a different game to play.