Gumby will finally be hitting the Game Boy Advance in August, courtesy of Namco, in his new starring role in Gumby vs. the Astrobots. The story goes that Gumby's friends have been kidnapped by those nefarious blockheads and have been spread throughout a number of magical books, and of course it's up to Gumby and his trusty sidekick, Pokey, to venture into the books' mystical worlds and save all those captives while fighting off the forces of their enemies at every turn.
There's only one problem: The blockheads have enlisted the aid of the astrobots, a never-ending army of evil robots, to help out with their evil deeds. So you'll be stomping on and jumping over lots and lots of robots throughout the course of the game. We played an extremely early build of the game, which had Gumby's basic functionality implemented, as well as a couple of the weaker types of astrobots implemented. Gumby could jump on top of the astrobots once to immobilize them briefly and a second time to put them out of commission for good. In addition, he could roll himself into a ball to move down slopes faster and jump higher than in his regular form.
From the brief demo we played, it looks like the designers will take some comical liberties with Gumby's claylike nature. For instance, when we encountered a set of mine-car tracks, Gumby automatically bent himself into the shape of a mine car, while Pokey hopped inside and the pair went speeding down the tracks in search of the level's goal. We were told more such special abilities will be added to the game, along with more enemy types, before it ships in the fall.
The developers have done a nice job of bringing Gumby to life in his first 2D GBA adventure. The Gumby sprite is surprisingly similar to a clay model of the lovable green guy, although we were told the characters have all been rendered by hand. Fans can expect to see other familiar faces like Prickle and Goo scattered throughout the game, which will take place in varied types of terrain such as ice and desert, from what we saw. Gumby vs. the Astrobots has a solid platforming foundation, so if the developers can flesh out the gameplay and variety of enemies a bit more, they may have an appealing children's game on their hands. Gumby vs. the Astrobots is scheduled for release in August, and we'll bring you more before then.