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Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots

Score: 58%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: THQ
Developer: THQ
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:

Crossover episodes are always the best. Though they sometimes make little sense within the context of their own shows, it is always neat to see the dynamics created by characters that normally don't interact. Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots builds on the idea behind the crossover by including characters from nearly all of the major Nicktoon shows. However, it doesn't quite get the dynamic right.

Considering the opposing styles of every Nicktoon featured in the game, it does a really good job at merging them all into one coherent presentation while still keeping the distinct feeling behind each. Overall, the visuals are really good; each character is recognizable and the animations showcase each character's personality. The same is true for each level, which is based on each character's home world. At least, that's true for the first part since the second is a similar-looking factory.

Sound is a non-issue. The lack of voicework is expected, but the lack of a soundtrack isn't. Except for a few bloops and bleeps, levels are silent.


Gameplay:

Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots builds on the idea that all of the Nicktoons exist in the same universe and know each other. Sometime Jimmy Neutron nemesis Dr. Calamitous devises a plan to take over the world by creating armies of robot toys. In order to make sure his plan works, he captures the main heroes - Tak, Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Timmy Turner and Danny Phantom - and creates robot duplicates. What he doesn't count on are Cosmo and Wanda, Timmy's fairy godparents, showing up and freeing one of the heroes. However, they only have enough power to free one, who then sets out to free the others by defeating the robots that hold the cell keys.

Attack of the Toybots is a pure platformer, though with a slight free-roaming twist. Levels are huge and feature numerous paths to the end. The catch is that each path is meant for a specific Nicktoon. Danny can phase through certain walls, while Tak can climb up vines. It makes for interesting gameplay, though it really doesn't matter much in the end. There's nothing particularly interesting between the alternate paths other than maybe stumbling across a random Nicktoon character standing in the background. Level design is pretty basic and doesn't stray too far from what players have seen in other games. This presents a real problem for the game since it becomes incredibly repetitive after the first two levels - especially once you start rescuing characters, since you'll have to lead each through the level.

Each level ends in a battle with one of the robot duplicates. Battles are really basic and usually just turn into shoot-outs. You usually have a tank during each battle, though the damage output doesn't seem to make up for the lack of mobility, especially after unlocking attack upgrades.


Difficulty:

Despite what you might think, Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots can get difficult, but for the wrong reasons. Generally, levels are really easy to get through, although the length does kind of drag down the entire experience. Life hearts and checkpoints are plentiful and enemies usually go down with a hit or two. However, some puzzle elements get a little complicated. For example, there are numerous areas where Danny might need the phase through a wall while jumping. However, the phases need to be timed just right otherwise he'll fall through the floor. Although it shows that the developers were really trying to do something interesting with each ability, it doesn't work right.

Game Mechanics:

Other than their special abilities, there is little difference between each of the Nicktoons characters. Each has a ranged attack which is upgraded between levels. Danny Phantom begins with a basic phantom blast that gets a speed upgrade and can also charge into a more powerful blast. However, these upgrades make little difference overall. The damage done by the quick blasts is just as good as a charged shot, and Danny isn't left open to attack while charging.

The different character abilities are only useful for opening new paths through levels, and little else. For me, this was one of the more disappointing aspects of the game since it could offer so much when producing interesting gameplay. Since you have to go through each level with each character, there's no risk/reward to choosing a certain character. I understand players are going to want to play as their favorites, but when you're forced to play as everyone, what's the point? I was really hoping for something more along the lines of Spongebob: Atlantis Squarepants where the difference between characters actually mattered.

I really wanted to like Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots. I love the idea behind the game and even some of the gameplay elements. I could easily envision a cool multi-character Metroid or Mega Man styled game using the available game mechanics. However, Nicktoons: Attack of the Toyboys doesn't follow its fun play mechanics and instead focuses on mechanics that result in a flat and generic game.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo Wii Zack & Wiki: Search for Barbaros' Treasure Sony PlayStation 2 Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots

 
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