Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile Hands-On
We get our hands on Sony Pictures Mobile's faithful adaptation of the classic console franchise.
While the fourth console iteration of Insomniac's popular Ratchet & Clank series seems to be charting new gameplay territory, fans of the classic platformer in search of new adventures need look no further than their mobile phones. Sony Pictures Mobile is making an original Ratchet & Clank game for cell phones, and it's shaping up to be one of the most exciting games we've seen this year.
Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile is a tried-and-true platformer that retains all the essential elements of the original console game, with only a few concessions to facilitate familiar gameplay for fans of the franchise. The story is that Ratchet and Clank have been invited to test out Microcorp's new "Biological to Digital Matter Transfer Computer," but the friendly invitation ends up being a trap, and Ratchet and Clank are converted into digital images. To avoid capture, they sneak into your mobile phone, which is where the entire game takes place. It's a cute premise, and it's entirely consistent with the license, although you might wonder how so many evil robots made their ways into your phone, as well as whether or not you should be making an effort to get them out.
The graphics are spectacular on Nokia Series 60 phones, like the 6620. Even though the game is 2D, the sprites retain all the style of the full-blown 3D versions. Strapped to Ratchet's back, Clank is responsible for movement enhancements, like using his tiny robotic helicopter mechanism to make the pair hover. Other familiar movement techniques we noted were wall jumping, rail grinding, and grappling, although unlike the console games, you won't have to find any special equipment to execute them.
The Ratchet & Clank series has always made use of a variety of quirky weapons, and this version takes its duty seriously. The four weapons available at the start should all be fairly familiar; the lancer, gravity bomb, minirocket, and defragmenter are all either exact replicas of previous weapons from the game, or else they closely mimic their effects. You'll be able to collect or purchase other weapons throughout the game, and of special interest is the "boarzooka," which, like the sheepinator before it, will turn enemies into nonthreatening animals. However, we're not entirely sure how passive a sounder of boars is going to be. You can also unlock the (in)famous RYNO (Rip Ya a New One) if you find all the game's hidden titanium bolts. Also returning to this version is Ratchet's melee weapon, the wrench, which is useful for both attacking enemies and unlocking puzzles. Although the wrench is, as always, very effective, there are a number of enemies whose ranged attacks will require you to delve deeper into your arsenal. Between each of the 10 levels, you'll be able to access the weapon store, and there are even teleports within the levels to let you quickly get out and buy something, if needed.
Like the console versions before it, this game is both rich and thoughtful. We're pleased to see how well Handheld Games is converting the license to the mobile format, and we're looking forward to playing the full version when it comes out this fall.
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