another real-time action RPG game has arrived on the Nintendo Wii
with Spectrobes: Origins that although pays homage to the original
premise of the series on the handheld, it introduces a variety of new innovative
features to the home console version.
Set in the distant future,
gamers control a team of Spectrobes who are attempting to stop a
hideously powerful force which threatens entire galaxies. With that
said, the original Spectrobes titles were targeting a younger market
and this current instalment is no exception to the rule.
The story of
Spectrobes: Origins revolves around two members of the Nanairo Planetary Patrol, Rallen and Jeena. These two humans however
are also spectrobe masters and have the ability to control these
strange and powerful creatures. As your characters get drawn into a
strange vortex, you find yourself on the planet of Wyterra who are
almost on the brink of extinction, thanks to the dangerous species
called the krawl. With a never ending battle to eradicate the krawl
from the universe, it is up to Rallen, Jeena and their spectrobes
to liberate this planet.
The game does pay homage to games before it such as the Final
Fantasy series where the player controls not only their main
character but also their elementals. However in Spectrobes: Origins,
players control the spectrobes who are linked to the elements.
Spectrobes are fortunately littered throughout the universe and must
be raised from the fossils they are, into powerful fighting
companions. By feeding them, the spectrobes recuperate their health
and are awarded experience points which assists them become more
Each of the spectrobes have their pros and cons and although adult
spectrobes can be quite powerful on the battlefield, younger
spectrobes are also needed for certain parts of the game as well
such as solving puzzles. Although this sounds cool on paper, there
are some problems with the AI in the game as these little or big
creatures sometimes get stuck or forget what they need to do. This
of course adds an “element” of frustration while playing.
Apart from fighting and exploring, the title does contain a few
mini-games such to help break up the main gameplay such as
excavating fossils to find spectrobes which is similar to the
handheld version of the game. Although the game does support a
two-player cooperative mode, it’s a little strange as one player
will control the main character and the other the spectrobes which
is a shame.
Of course, the key to the game is the combat and it’s real-time. The
developers have ensured that the innovative control system of the
Nintendo Wii controllers go hand in hand with the gameplay. For
example, swinging your Wiimote in the air will order your spectrobes
to attack which does assist in the enjoyment of the title. It’s
basically something “different” but thankfully it doesn’t seem too
forced or contrived.
Another interesting part of the spectrobes is that they also have
access to special attacks and combo’s which does take a little
getting use to but most gamers should have no issue in mastering
this aspect. Apart from ordering your characters, you need to
control Rallen and Jeena as well who have access to a variety of
weapons, most following the theme of the elements. This elemental
theme in Spectrobes is due to the fact that the krawl have certain
weaknesses towards certain elements such as fire, so there is an
aspect of strategy involved.
Graphically, the title looks quite cartoonish on the Nintendo Wii
with a varied and colourful palette, some interesting lighting and
special effects and some relatively decent gaming environments. The
characters are well modelled and the only issue with the game is the
camera which occasionally goes into the wrong spot, sometimes
blocking the action. The soundtrack suits the game perfectly and
when the battle heats up, so does the rock music. Add in a variety
of special effects and some cool background ambience and
Origins is a good looking and sounding game.
In conclusion, Spectrobes: Origins is a good attempt at moving the
franchise to the console world and works on most levels. The
unfortunate aspect of the game is that the RPG aspect seems too
contrived and does not add to the genre anything new. With that said,
it’s good to see one of these games on the Wii and it makes good use
of the motion capabilities of the console. Hopefully a sequel will
hopefully address the camera issues and liven up some of the gameplay.
Interesting never the less.