Through four PS2 entries, we've seen what a furry hero and his hetero- robot lifemate can do. Ratchet & Clank has become one of the best action/platformer series in the videogame world, and it's brought guns to 3D platformers the same way Mega Man did with 2D. The love train keeps on rolling with Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP.
Developed by High Impact Games instead of series creator Insomniac, Size Matters still feels just like previous Ratchet titles. The designers' goal is to sacrifice nothing - number of enemies, effects, storyline - in making the series' first step in the portable realm. And when we got our hands on a near-finished version of the game, a wave of familiarity and comfort washed over us. It's indeed faithful to the flock.
The original story finds our friends Ratchet and Clank on vacation after the wrap-up of the last game, Deadlocked. A little girl named Luna finds them, and wants to feature them in her school report on heroes. The duo helps her out, though something doesn't feel completely kosher about the kid - and not just because you can smack her with your wrench in the tutorial level.
The controls are easy to figure out, with standard-issue platform-hopping and gunplay. The shoulder buttons rotate the camera, and Ratchet locks on with weapons automatically. If there's one iffy spot in the control so far, it's the perilous use of the d-pad for strafing: It's not always the most reliable, and we often ended up facing the wrong direction. Luckily, enemies were idiotic enough at first that we were able to forgo this shooter staple.