Spectrobes Beyond the Portals
Published by Disney Interactive and the
developed by the Jupiter Corporation,
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals is the latest Nintendo DS RPG title
to hit the console which is aimed at the younger market. The story
revolves around Rallen, a space officer who must stop a sinister
invasion and will venture to eight different planets. Although clichéd,
the story provides a few twists and turns to the player, ensuring that
the journey is quite diverse. As Nintendo have just recently released
Pokémon Platinum, Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals is a similar
affair, although not as polished and at times a little bland compared to
the aforementioned title.
* New, revamped three-dimensional
* Players can take on the role of either Rallen or, for the first time,
Jeena in special missions where her technical expertise is needed
* A new map system to assist with exploration
* New excavation and battle features
* More than 100 creatures, plus all-new items, gadgets, and a
customizable patrol cruiser
* Online battle system utilizing the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
* Includes DGamer, Disney Interactive Studios' innovative new technology
that provides a fun, connected online game community for Disney video
As mentioned, the game revolves around
Rallen, a space officer of the NPP who has the ability to control
spectrobes which are strange alien-like monsters who assist you in the
various battles with the Krawl, the big bands behind this epic tale. You
also have a friend called Jeena who assists with the story, especially
through subtle hints.
Reminiscent of games such as Final
Fantasy, gamers will explore vast areas as they encounter non-player
characters (NPC) who assist in pointing you in the right direction for
quests. Like Final Fantasy, the encounters with these NPC’s are
generally quite verbose and you’ll spend much of the time reading.
The control system of Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals uses both
the fixed controls and the stylus to interact with the gaming
environment. The D-Pad is used to control your character that is
complimented by the menu system to interact with the world and battles
that you will face. Thankfully you only have three spectrobes in your
control at the start which is almost like a tutorial that teaches you
the basics of the gameplay.
The stylus is used for some interesting
mini-games that has the player acting like a palaeontologist as you dig
for fossils and minerals which are then used to upgrade your creatures
and for sustenance. You even get to use the microphone on the DS where
you need to wake the spectrobe fossils which is actually quite a cute
feature. Although older gamers may be raising their eyebrows by now!
In relation to battles, Rallen should be considered your primary
character who has access to a variety of weaponry from melee to ranged
weapons. As you progress, so does your character, ensuring that you can
take on a variety of more powerful creatures. The biggest issue with the
combat is that if you lose, you are automatically returned to the start
of the map which does become frustrating because of the time spent
getting there. However, where the game does shine is through the battles
with the spectrobes (gotta get em all) which all have pros and cons.
Best of all, these battles are in real-time and these little critters
have some wicked special maneuvers.
As with Pokémon, Spectrobes: Beyond the
Portals will allow you to trade your spectrobes with other DS gamers
and the game supports an engaging online community. Graphically the
title is quit anime inspired with cute Saturday morning cartoon colour
graphics. The sound suits the game quite well, except for the MIDI
inspired music which is stock standard DS.
At the end of the day, Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals is an
interesting third-party Nintendo DS game that we would definitely
recommend to lovers of Japanese RPG fans, due to the extensive dialogue
and reminiscent gameplay to titles such as Final Fantasy and Pokémon.
The game does make good use to the inventive controls of the DS, however
some of these at times seem a little forced. For a third-party game,
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals is definitely worth investigating,
however if you are after a more professional affair, than this may not
be the title for you.