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Has the Live Arcade service finally jumped the shark? Outside of a few shining moments (namely: Ikaruga), the past couple months have been more than a little disappointing, with one misguided attempt at snagging the casual market after another. And the trend continues with Rocky & Bullwinkle - not only a weak attempt at the microgame genre, but one sporting a license that ceased to be relevant about 25 years ago.
The setup here is almost entirely ripped from the WarioWare games. You take part in various episodes starring classic R&B characters. Each episode is made up of a series of seconds-long microgames, broken up by a few “boss” games. Make it to the end of a set, and you win that episode.
There’s nothing wrong with the premise. Simple games like this are great if they’re both fun and intuitive. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of the over 100 microgames on offer here fall anywhere near those categories. And - unlike the game it tries to mimic - they don’t have a huge collection of tried-and-true Nintendo imagery to fall back on in the weaker game play moments.
What the game does have is some incredibly lackluster visuals. And that’s not a shot at the original cartoon series, either. The game’s characters look like poorly-drawn imitations of the classic cartoons, feeling like cheap flash games than any sort of licensed imagery. And the liberal smattering of clips from the show only serve to point out just how bad the actual graphics are.
Rocky & Bullwinkle is for hardcore fans of the cartoon series alone, and not because it’s any sort of admirable homage to the decades-old characters. It’s a poor use of a poor license, and way overpriced at 800 Microsoft points.
Apr 17, 2008