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In WireWay, you flick Wiley, an ADHD alien blob, skyward by pulling down little black lines and releasing them, just like the string of a bow. This catapults Wiley to the next little black line he needs to grab. Other than that, the game keeps it simple: collect “elam” (little stars), bounce from bumpers, and attempt to reach the end of the maze-like levels in record time. What should be a quick and easy process, however, ends up feeling too repetitive, too clumsy, and too imprecise to ever feel like much fun.
The game’s main issue is the camera. Wiley is always in clear focus but the camera is too zoomed in on the little bugger to see much of anything else – you typically have to pan left or right after every jump to see where to catapult next. Also, the space between DS screens makes a proper degree of accuracy almost impossible; several times each level your little alien will miss the mark and tumble toward the ground. Sometimes Wiley doesn’t grab the wires he touches, or refuses to be pulled back, and the clumsy-feeling controls slow gameplay down even further. Any attempts at reckless flicks will usually end with Wiley falling into endless pits, pits of spikes, or giant Wiley-crushing mechanisms.
There are spots when the gameplay really does work, however, and you can see what the game designers had in mind. Boss battles, for instance, are a ton of fun, and open up a new play mechanic by introducing enemies with targeted weaknesses to flick toward. But the great moments are few and far between. The fun is sandwiched between repetitive stages and laughably bad cutscenes involving Wiley and his ambiguously gendered pal Refresh. Gamers watch helplessly as their heroes try and score more elam to sell on “UFObay” while using hip terms like “b0rked,” “pwned,” and “lol.” Seriously.
The game offers plenty of stages, and ranks your score at the end of each. Challenges are opened up after you finish each level, and if you haven’t become disenchanted with Wiley by then, there’s a lot left to do. That is, if you still give a flick.
Nov 30, 2009