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Astro Boy: The Video Game

by Neal Ronaghan - November 7, 2009, 9:18 am PST
Total comments: 5

3.5

It's got a butt cannon and that is pretty cool. However, that's about as cool as this game gets.

Astro Boy began in 1952 in Japan and is linked to the origins of anime. Its popularity has made the franchise a lasting one and the latest entry in the series is the recently released CGI film starring the voices of Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell, who both add their voices to the game based off of the movie.

Developed by High Voltage Software, Astro Boy is a cross between a side-scrolling beat-'em-up and a side-scrolling shooter. The marriage of the two similar genres results in a bland, ugly, and uninspired game with control issues and very few redeeming qualities.

The level-based adventure takes you through Astro Boy's earliest adventure, as detailed in the movie, and has the boy-robot fighting a bunch of generic enemies that spout off the same few throwaway lines if they can talk.

The graphics range from decent to pitiful. The only thing that looks decent is Astro Boy's character model, and that is probably due to the comparison. Everything else, such as the hordes of enemies, look like something out an early PlayStation 2 game.

The constantly scrolling shooting sections of the game suffer from the fact that Astro has no rapid fire attack. He has a laser that fires across the screen and lingers for a few seconds, but it has a bothersome delay that leaves you wide open to attack. In general, all of the attacks take way too long to execute. For the super attacks, which you can only use a limited amount of depending on the difficulty, the action pauses while you use it, but for every normal attack, the enemies get the jump on you if you don't kill them in one hit.

Those same problems seep into the brawler portions as well and then some. Astro Boy's melee attacks do little damage and can't be broken out of. So, if you use his standard move and hit an enemy, then you're left open to every other enemy on screen, who almost always have much quicker attacks. In a game that has a focus on fighting enemies, this is inexcusable.

The controls aren't too precise and you'll find yourself fighting to keep Astro Boy to stay on platforms in the brawler sections, which vastly outnumber the shoot-'em-up levels. Luckily he bounces right back up when you fall off the screen, but he comes back with less health. In the shooter levels, the controls feel better, probably because you don't have to jump at all.

The super attacks are the only source of good entertainment in Astro Boy. One of them features our robotic hero shooting lasers out of his butt. It's a devastating move and very rewarding in a humorous "I just killed you with my ass lasers!" sort of way.

The game features co-op throughout the main game so that way you can drag a friend through the miserable ride. There's also an Arena mode where you fight waves of enemies and try to get a high score. It offers a little bit of replay value, but the combat isn't too much fun, so there isn't much draw to something that just focuses on it exclusively.

Astro Boy is a movie-license miss with awful graphics, bad combat, and middling controls. Even if you loved the heralded Game Boy Advance Astro Boy game, this game still isn't worth your time because it takes those concepts and perverts them into something not fun at all.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
3 6 5 3 3 3.5
Graphics
3

The only bright spot of these hideously outdated graphics are the rare cut scenes and Astro Boy's decent-looking character model.

Sound
6

The music is generic, but the game does feature some of the movie's cast, namely Freddie Highmore as Astro Boy and Kristen Bell as his human friend Cora. The sound effects suit the futuristic setting of the game.

Control
5

In the brawler portions, Astro Boy's jumping is out of control. Other than that, the controls work well, although there are some misguided and optional motion controls for super attacks.

Gameplay
3

The game is split between brawler and shooter levels. The brawler levels are exercises in frustration while the shooter levels are a little better. There are nearly twice as many brawler levels.

Lastability
3

You can play this game cooperatively and get high scores in the combat-focused Arena mode, but when a large part of a game is this poor, any extra mode that focuses on that part isn't worth your time.

Final
3.5

Die-hard fans of the character or movie are the only people that should waste their time with Astro Boy. It's primarily a brawler game, and the combat is dreadful. Everything else wrong with the game just falls into line after that.

Summary

Pros
  • Butt lasers
Cons
  • Awful combat
  • The plentiful platform levels aren't fun
  • Ugly graphics
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

I thought it was weird that an American company was chosen to develop a game for one of Japan's most iconic properties.

GKNovember 07, 2009

True... but wasn't this movie US made as well? If so then I guess having a US company make the game based off of it makes some sense.

----------------
Now playing: Nevermore - Deconstruction
via FoxyTunes

Fun fact: This is my 50th review for NWR.

I wish I could've planned this and reviewed something good...

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 09, 2009

You review a dud :p .

Yea, this game kind of sucked.

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Astro Boy: The Video Game Box Art

Genre Action
Developer High Voltage Software
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Astro Boy: The Video Game
Release Oct 20, 2009
PublisherD3Publisher
RatingEveryone 10+
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