It’s not often that a game on a last-generation system is able to thoroughly trump its current console counterparts, but Wall-E on the PlayStation 2 is able to hold that prestigious claim. Though Pixar movies appeal to both children and adults by creating lovable characters with lifelike motivations, the games have often ignored their older audience entirely. This is not the case with Wall-E. A variety of gameplay mechanics that not only expand on the scenes from the movie, but provide a healthy amount of challenge and fun as well, make this a legitimately good game rather than another slapdash licensed cash-in.
The story of Wall-E follows the same path laid out by the movie it’s based on. Wall-E is a lone robot on a filthy planet, and the early levels highlight the weight 700 years of isolation will bring. When he meets Eve, he not only falls head-over-wheels in love, but catches a ride to a space station in the process. From here, you’ll learn about the power of plants and the consequences of rampant consumerism. Though the game doesn’t dwell on the evils of a corporate-run society quite as harshly as the film, the stream of advertisements lining the walls and pouring from the loudspeaker still hammer the point home. The cutscenes are mostly based on scenes from the movie, though they are created in-game and feature a few twists thrown in for good measure. Dialogue takes a backseat to old-fashioned mimed drama, but the animation is rich enough to properly tell this robot love tale.
The gameplay doesn’t break new ground for platformers, but the sheer variety of well-designed tasks makes this enjoyable throughout. The most common objective is to navigate from one section to another using various jumping skills along the way. Your main maneuver is simply jumping from one precariously placed platform to another, but because Wall-E was not gifted with impressive hops, you’ll have to use some different tools to traverse the tricky terrain. Some levels are littered with skateboard ramps, allowing you to build up momentum before you can make the leap. Other times you’ll have to toss magnetic cubes to form a pathway or turn elevated lifts to the optimal position. The level design is constantly throwing new tricks in your path, making exploration one of the strong points of this game. Unfortunately, your slippery wheels make precise placement difficult sometimes, leading to a few accidental deaths.