There has been an increasing number of computer-animated films released at cinemas worldwide over the past couple of years, and this Summer saw Walt Disney Pictures enter the fray with both Guinea Pigs and Gadgets in G-Force. As per usual, a video game has been developed to coincide with its release.
Within the game, you play as the leader of the G-Force team – Darwin. The storyline revolves around the more central plot of the film, where the team aims to avert an unknown enemy that has caused malfunctions in the circuitry of all of Saber Technology electrical appliances, leading them to become dangerous as they attack their owners. Throughout the game, communication chatter with your team will aim to provide you with the story progression, yet unfortunately never really draws you in – being used more to show you which direction to head in next rather than the reason you are doing so.
At the start of the game, you will enter some brief control tutorials that encompass everything you’ll need to know to travel around in true geared-up Guinea Pig style. Darwin is fortunate enough to be provided with a nifty jetpack, and its mechanics work very well – allowing you to boost vertically, and even forwards as you traverse along the ground. The controls have essentially been designed to be as simple as possible, presumably for younger players, and are responsive in-game.
One of G-Force’s strongest elements is the sheer variety of enemies that you will encounter. These include Shavers, Headphones, Desktop Computers, Paper Shredders and much more, each retaining their normal form before transforming to attack you as you approach- the animation on these is superb. Some of the stronger enemies can only be defeated through attacking a specific weak point, and each requires a different strategy of approach. Sometimes you may find you have to use laser turrets fixed upon the walls to neutralise threats, whereas sometimes it’s as simple as waiting for an enemy to retract a shield. The variety of enemy ensures that you always feel that the combat within the game is relatively fresh.
To counter such enemies, you’ll need weapons of course and G-Force supplies you with continued variety in this respect too. In total, there are 9 weapons; Electro-Whip, Saberlizer, Plasma Gun, Cluster Rifle, Shot Bolter, NanoHacker, Magnetic Grapple, Freeze Gun and the Flame Thrower. Some, such as the Saberlizer, aren’t necessarily used to attack but to identify the weaknesses of certain enemies. Each can be upgraded through gathering Sabersense Chips, allowing upgrades to both weapon level, and ammo capacity – similarities with such elements can be related to the much-loved Ratchet and Clank series. However, to unlock these upgrades you must find Silver Discs that are scattered throughout levels.
Aside from the enemies, you will regularly encounter puzzles that mainly involve opening locked doors, retrieving power cores or disabling lasers. Such puzzles provide necessary chances to deploy your flying insect assistant Mooch, and this incorporates one of the best elements of the game. Whilst mainly being used to disable appliances and activate switches, Mooch is also granted the ability to be able to slow down time. This allows you to pass through fan ventilation systems or doors that have transformed to gain sharp teeth to prevent further Darwin from progressing further. It’s certainly a lot of fun whizzing around as Mooch, and using him as one of the most enjoyable features of the game.
Whilst there is plenty of variety in both weaponry and enemies, the environments within the game all look incredibly similar. Whilst you will find yourself moving to other buildings in the course of the storyline, you never truly feel as if you’re moving to a fresh environment due to similar colour schemes. However, to journey over to the new area you’ll travel by motorised hamster ball – adding slight variety to the game play, yet not being some of the most memorable or successful portions of the title.
A minor gripe is with the games manual. Whilst many may see such a point as being insignificant, with the target market being aimed at a younger audience, what is included within it is so very basic – merely consisting of the controls and the usual health/ safety precautions. Surely the inclusion of some information about the G-Force team members at the least would have been a worthy inclusion – rather than promoting the purchase of a Disney magazine instead.
On the whole, the game never feels repetitive due to unlocking new weapons as you progress through the game alongside increasingly difficult challenges and puzzles. It is certainly one of the stronger film tie-ins this year and is a recommended purchase for younger players that enjoyed the film or like action-platform titles. On top of this there is plenty of challenge to ensure that more experienced players will enjoy it too, but repetitive environments, unfortunately, stagnate an otherwise worthwhile title.