Bolt the game can't quite decide which age group it is for
waZelda wrote this review on .
The strange part is that Bolt isn't really all that complex in terms of gameplay either. It isn't complex enough for a gamer like me to really enjoy it. It is basically a part beat'em'up part stealth game. You play as Bolt and his owner Penny trying to save Penny's dad from an evil man with one green eye whose name I never caught. When you play as Penny, you use a silent approach. With Penny's wheelbar you can slide across pipes and thus sneak into places while also taking out guards either through sneaking up on them or by waiting for them to come to you then use a dodge move, which is basically like a Quicktime Event. Whenever a$$es need to be kicked, Penny calls in her dog and it turns into a beat'em'up with one button for fast attack and one for strong attack, plus a bunch of superpowers. Figuring out the AI of the enemies is easy, and once you've done that, they are pretty easy to take out, but when there is more than one enemy at a time, it becomes chaotic and way too hard for kids. There are points when even I struggle with it, so how would a guy who is eleven years younger have a chance.
Still, the truth is that Bolt does a lot of things right. The cut-scenes are pretty decent and I'm almost getting interested in the story. Also, I really like the parts where you play as Penny, particularily when you have to break into a database and the game suddenly turns into an arcade shooter where you move on a board with WASD while shooting in different directions with the arrow keys trying to hit the enemies and avoid being hit by them while picking up power-ups along the way. Even the combat when playing as Bolt is ok, though there are a few bugs to it, it feels stale and it gets really repetitive quite quickly.
There is one thing that the game really nails though. That is the presentation of Bolt kicking a$$. Often you're going to knock an enemy straight into a wall like a bug, sometimes you'll send them flying off a damn, and at one point Bolt will grab a missile with his teeth and send it straight back at the helicopter. Due to the graphics being so simple, none of it seems to bad for children's eyes to see. At those points my cousin will laugh with excitement, and I must say it is incredible how much fun someone can have waching someone else play a video game.
So at the end of the day, I don't think I'll call Bolt a complete failure. It is a great way to make your younger cousin or brother (or maybe your son) like you, and it is an enjoyable game for children who has a cousin/sibling/dad to play it for them.