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Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots Review

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Developer: Blue Tongue Publisher: THQ
Release Date: October 23, 2007 Also On: PS2 and Wii

I think there are two major stereotypes that exist in video games created to entertain children, particularly games based off of an expensive license like Nickelodeon. The first is the common stereotype: the assumption that these games are always sub-par and underdeveloped due to the lower age level of the intended audience. I have been a witness to a few decent children’s games, so I could look beyond that stereotype when I opened up Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots and put it into my Nintendo Wii.

The second stereotype, one assumed by developers, is that these games have to be so easy that sedated children laying sick in a hospital bed could finish them with ease. Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots for Nintendo Wii is a combination of both stereotypes I mentioned: it will not challenge even the most casual children gamers. I sat down in my first session and completed 50% of the game in almost an hour. Perhaps there are children who can’t fly through the handful of stages like I did, and there are some who may be interested in collecting things scattered in the levels, but I would still be impressed to see anyone caring enough about the game to go back and collect anything.

The story is pretty simple, and could be wrapped up and packaged into a single Nickelodeon episode. Dr. Calamitous is up to no good, cloning the Nicktoons and making them into destructive toybots. In retaliation to being kidnapped, SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Timmy Turner, Jimmy Neutron, Tak, and several other popular Nicktoons characters fight back in an attempt to rescue their friends and stop the evil madman.

Unfortunately their quest is not much fun to have a hand in, or a hand on. Even though it worked fine in every way, the control scheme was made awkward by strange button placement. The attack button is mapped to the Down button on the Wii Remote, which is unintuitive and awkward when the C button on the Nunchuck controller handles the goo shooter that the Nicktoons use frequently. The hordes of attacking teddy bears and robots are very easily dispatched thanks to an incredibly forgiving targeting system; point anywhere in the ballpark of an enemy and your Nicktoon will most likely be able to pelt anything in range with goo shots. Combat is very repetitive and mindless, consisting of mashing down and Z while jumping a few times to shoot flying enemies or switches in the background.

I will say that Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots for Nintendo Wii is more entertaining than its handheld Nintendo DS counterpart, but only because it can be plowed through like a pile of leaves. Even taking into account the major differences in hardware capabilities separating the console Wii and handheld DS, I will say Nicktoons Wii appears to have been crafted more carefully. The 3D models look, for the most part, pretty great in the game and in the cut-scenes. They animate well, and are made even better by the included voice acting from the characters’ real-life voice actors.

Although Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots can be played cooperatively, I cannot imagine that a lot of kids would really want to play through it. It is repetitive, lacks creativity in its gameplay mechanics and general design, and is far too easy and short. Children might enjoy seeing their favorite Nicktoons animated in 3D cinemas and in the game, but they will probably get bored after mashing the same buttons for an hour just like I did. Pass this up for something else this Christmas. Renting it or buying Nicktoons DVDs will suffice.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 5
Written by Cliff Review Guide