Voltron: Defenders of the Universe First Look Preview

Form blazing sword! We stack robots and take on old foes with a look at this retro throwback.

Children of the 1980s, brace for impact! Your memories and disposable income have become flashing, high-value targets for film and game companies looking to sell you back your fondest moments. What's old is new again, and if you grew up with cartoons filled with giant robots or little blue singing creatures, only to feel pangs in their absence in your adulthood, then relish (or balk at) the chance of revival. Amazingly, while publishers were pumping out games tied to just about every hit TV show and film, Voltron didn't ever get the game treatment in its heyday. As a result, this downloadable title is a chance to right history's failings and is being made by Voltron fans (who also happen to be developers) for Voltron fans.

Don't worry if you're too young to have caught the program the first time, as the game includes a recap of the characters and how they fit together. These flashbacks are done with original clips from the show and bookend gameplay. Even the menus include blasts of the original theme music and have been extended beyond short samples that were never designed for lengthy play.

You'll be able to play the game solo if you want to, but the real fun of being part of a giant transforming robot gang is the chance to buddy up, play through the campaign, and combine your powers. Two players battled alongside each other on the same console during our demo, but five players will be able to team up online, each taking control of one of the pieces of the robot puzzle and channelling their collective energies into a single unified attack to defeat evil forces.

Gameplay variety was clearly one of the major design goals, and rather than having you pick a single play style and sticking with it throughout the story, the game will be split into several different modes with roots in the show. Arus One: Bulwark was a twin-stick isometric brawler level set in a lush jungle environment where, with the pull of the trigger, our cats lunged at targets, clawing at eyes and earning valuable points. Yellow and red lions rely on melee swipes and pounces to take down anything within striking range, while blue and green lions are ranged units. Commander Keith, black lion, leader of the group, and the torso of the robot, is a balanced all-rounder.

The Arus Four mission was taken straight from the fiction, pitting us against the robeast in a turn-based combat scenario where we traded damage. One player controlled the intensity of a laser attack, or the swing of our sword, while the other aimed it at the enemy's weak spots.

The last level shown was a top-down space shooter with bullet-hell elements, and it gave us a good look at the special attack system. Star pieces are the game's currency and are collected in groups of five. Once you've collected enough, you can either trade them in for an extra life or spend them individually for temporary boosts and special attacks unique to each character. Every lion has its own elemental attack, and when activated, yellow released a swirling cyclone that engulfed enemies that were close enough to be caught. If you're unlucky enough to drain your life bar, you'll be given one extra chance at redemption. Provided you can survive on foot outside of your ship for 10 seconds while repairs go on, you'll be able to jump back in without the penalty of a lost life and continue the fight.

The devil is in the details, and the smallest touches here show that this is a passion project from lifetime series devotees. Tapping the pause button midgame triggers an audio sample of "Voltron will be back after these messages!" just like on the show when it cut to a commercial.

It's authentic and nostalgic, and while we didn't have a chance to put the controller in-hand ourselves, we're eager to relive the memories when Voltron: Defenders of the Universe is released later this year on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation Network.

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33 comments
OMEGADOOMRP
OMEGADOOMRP

i grew up watching voltron. loved it as a kid and will support these guys bringing nostalgia back!!!! whats a few microsoft points???

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

Its going to be a crap game, Voltron is nothing more than an American or USA company who bought the US rights to an Anime made in Japan called Brave Beast King Go Lion, it was nice and quaint, I watched it and enjoyed it but they heavily changed the story and censored it or "Disney-fied" the story. Basically if they wanted to keep the US story they should have contracted a Japanese game developer or a game dev that is at least "decent" to come up with the concept of a videogame based on what is really a "monster of the week" Japanese Anime Super Robot series which btw they have made many great videogames based on the genre/formula in Japan but due to copyright and licensing reasons these games just cannot be localized for the USA market.

Griffith-ksa
Griffith-ksa

it bring back memories, i think its going to be a bad game. Voltron great cartoon in the past but now i do not think so at all . i will buy it when it have low price

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

Man I hope this game is good, I am really pumped about it.

Talran1
Talran1

not only does this look like a terrible game in general, but it looks like it is going to do nothing but aggravate fans everywhere.

Ovirew
Ovirew

Voltron always seemed interesting to me, but it was a few years before my time. I'll surely try a demo if there is one.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

80's are making their way back in a big way. All these movies and games based on the 80's era. It was pretty sweet coming home from school & watching Voltron, GI Joe, Transformers, Thunder Cats, Silver Hawks...the list goes on and on....remember Bionic Six? I always wondered how the hell they kept their secret. Those toys could kill a man also.

BSEE10
BSEE10

Giant robots... I missed that era

endersgone
endersgone

Nostalgiagasm when hearing theme song, that is all.

Thehobb
Thehobb

@jaifrecap AWESOME show man, well for those days that is.... try searching on youtube some of the episodes... this was an epic cartoon :)

Speuj
Speuj

@valdarez You are correct! That is indeed Peter Cullen, one of my personal hometown heroes! =)

howie1926
howie1926

OMG I JUST CREAMED IN MY PANTS

RocSeanD
RocSeanD

GOLION!!!! All hail the Beast King!!!!!!

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

When I watched Voltron before I always dreamed toys of them to have but there were no toys for them at that time. Now maybe I can enjoy its game if its good enough.

OreoPoptart
OreoPoptart

damn you THQ. I don't want this game BUT I HAVE TO GET IT CAUSE IT'S VOLTRON

piemoul
piemoul

kids these days barely know what voltron even is

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Can't wait for this personally..... being a TF fan and collector too, I have a fair few Voltron pieces amongst my collection and I've enjoyed watching back some of the Voltron cartoons. This game should be a lot of fun for a fan....

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

One of my fav cartoons back in the day along with Dino-Riders

oflow
oflow

Yes, a modern next gen console Robotech needs to happen NOW. I'd rather see a Battle of the Planets game than a Voltron game =P

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Voltron and Robotech were the two Anime series I got into as a kid, I liked Speed Racer but I didn't really get into that until I was 20. The thought often comes that it would be cool to have a video game based on some of the 1980's cartoons I used to watch but then these things come out and I am left feeling disappointed.

Dragon-Power
Dragon-Power

Voltron great cartoon in the past but now i do not think so

valdarez
valdarez

Is the intro voice of Voltran the same as for Optimus Prime?

goofball1549
goofball1549

Sooo much nostalgia. I loved this show as a kid XD

soulless4now
soulless4now

I had no idea they were making a voltron game...*starts following it*