Last weekend, more than 63 million people flocked to see the movie "WALL-E," an animated love story from Disney (the parent company of ABC) and Pixar starring a clunky but endearing robot that was left alone on Earth for 700 years when humans abandoned the planet after their waste made uninhabitable. When a sleek, modern robot named EVE is sent back to Earth to look for plant growth, WALL-E and EVE meet and fall in love.
As Hollywood's new robotic darling, WALL-E makes his video game debut in numerous games across multiple platforms. Since the "WALL-E" movie appeals to fans as young as 5 and as old as 99, the games vary in difficulty depending on the platform.
For the youngest fans, those between ages 4 and 7, the "WALL-E" video game on the Leapster (a handheld educational gaming system) is the best. This game offers five educational games featuring WALL-E and EVE and is set in the movie's universe.
As in the movie, WALL-E likes to collect cool human gadgets and toys in the game, which he finds by sifting through trash before compacting it into cubes. Kids help WALL-E to find these treasures by playing games that teach math and reading skills. In one, they can help WALL-E locate constellations in the sky by identifying numbers or adding and subtracting. In another, kids sort garbage by tapping on two or more squares of the same color in a grid of trash cubes.
As kids play, they not only practice classroom skills but also learn about space and environmental issues.
RATING: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
$19.99 for all Leapsters, including the new Leapster 2
Best for ages 4 to 7
For kids ages 7 and 8, the Nintendo DS version of "WALL-E" from THQ is the way to go. This version is simpler than the console version and consists of a series of puzzles where the objective is to get WALL-E or EVE through an environment by manipulating things in their surroundings.
For example, after WALL-E compacts garbage into a cube, if he then throws that cube across a chasm to hit a button, a bridge appears that allows him to wheel across into a new area.
While some of WALL-E's charm is lost in this small-screen format, and you must play through a series of similar puzzles before you reach the end of a level, the game does provide an interesting and mobile way of playing within the WALL-E universe.
RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
$29.99 for Nintendo DS
Best for ages 7 to 12.
For a more robust experience, turn to the console version of "WALL-E" for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
Players control WALL-E and occasionally his female love interest, EVE, in nine levels of gameplay. The game re-creates and expands upon the environments featured in the movie, including the wasteland of Earth as well as the gigantic spaceship called Axiom. Players relive the movie's story through video cut scenes, shown between the levels of play.
Since each level explores a different location, the gameplay remains exciting. Most of the gameplay is puzzle-based, with your objective to find ways to navigate through the terrain.