I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with the Spectrobes series – I’m aware there’s a game or two out there on the Nintendo DS, but thats about as far as my knowledge goes.
Until now, of course, because I have just had the pleasure of playing Spectrobes: Origins. Typically, what with this being my first adventure in the land of ‘Nanairo’, I haven’t got the foggiest as to what is going on, but I will do my best to explain.
After inserting the disc and selecting it on the Wii menu, it says ‘Lets Do This!’, followed by something else in Japanese (I am guessing there, I’m not fluent in the language).
This leads me to some confusion, as Spectrobes: Origins is a Disney game – are Disney now venturing into the anime’ market or have I missed something?
The game starts off with a rather impressive animation sequence featuring the main characters of ‘Rallen’ and ‘Jeena’, getting into a ship to face battle with ‘The Krawl’ (weird looking alien chaps with tentacles) and finding themselves shunted to another side of the galaxy.
They decide to land on a planet (Wyterra) after hearing a distress call. Upon investigation they find a bunch of scared locals hiding from the Krawl in some ruins. After much discussion, Rallen and Jeena go outside to face the Krawl.
Rather oddly, Rallen and Jeena forget the fact they have been thrown many lightyears from home and decide to concentrate on defeating the Krawl on Wyterra instead. Obviously, despite the anime’ look and feel of this game, it still retains the Disney morals.
As Rallen and Jeena progress through the land of Wyterra, they continually run into various factions of the Krawl. It’s at this point where their Spectrobes are enabled and they do battle. Ultimately, this part of the game is a bit of a button basher and quickly becomes a bit repetitive. You control your character with the nunchuck and attack using the “a” button.
To control your Spectrobe you need to wave the wii-mote around and they will attack the villain your the crosshair is on.
Progressing through the game will reward you with more Spectrobes. You have to search for them by unearthing fossil cubes scattered around the world of Wyterra. From there you need to excavate, awaken and train them until they become adults. Once they become adults they can assist you in your battle against the Krawl.
This process is neatly designed into 3 different parts. The excavation part is simple enough, which is pretty much just scanning through the land of Wyterra with your child Spectrobes – it’s a bit like searching for treasure, as you cannot see the minerals, nor the fossil cubes without the help of a searcher Spectrobe. Once you have found the fossil cube you need to go to the ship and chip away at the cube, using a variety of tools, until you find the Spectrobe inside.
The awaken part is a musical game which involves waving the wii-mote and the nunchuck in the correct order. From here you need to go to the virtual incubator room, where you feed them the various minerals and items that you have collected to increase their health and experience.
Graphically the game is as graceful as the Wii can get really. The world of Wyterra is vast and colourful and it is quite a pleasure to venture around. At times you will find yourself facing an invisible wall, wondering why Rallen/Jeena can’t just go down a hill instead of using the path and going the long way round. While the animations and cutscenes are quite impressive, the lip sync is questionable – rather oddly it adds to the anime feel, making me wonder if this was intentional or whether these cut scenes are just the victim of some shoddy dubbing.
The sound is ok if nothing impressive. The game also does a good job of making use of the speaker on the wii-mote, with your spectrobe making sounds when its finds things.
The game itself is not a bad action-based RPG, even if it is blatantly inspired by such anime as Pokemon. Whilst older players may find the game a little tedious at times, there is much fun here for the younger audience.
Verdict: 7 out of 10
– Colourful graphics
– Good variety of mini games
– Battles get repetitive