As in the DS version, WALL-E, being a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class robot, has the unique ability to compact trash and form it into useful cubes. Some cubes have weight so that they can be used to push down on levers. Others carry an electrical charge that can power up objects; and some are magnetic, which will affect metal objects in the scene.
WALL-E can even bend into a cube shape himself and roll around so that he won't suffer damage. EVE, being an Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, can fly and shoot with a laser. She also can lift up WALL-E and fly him to places he can't reach on his own.
These special abilities of WALL-E and EVE create intriguing gameplay, particularly as they interact with environments full of moving platforms, explosive containers, magnetic ceilings, electrified floors, and other robots and humans. Some of these puzzles are unique, including one where WALL-E folds into a box shape and then dislodges explosive barrels, which roll into a giant robot blocking the way.
Taking control of EVE to fly through tunnels produces an adrenaline rush because you are moving so fast. Multiplayer games also create some fun split-screen competitions for up to four players.
While engaging to play, this console version is too challenging for most kids under age 9. The first level of the game seems pretty easy, but the subsequent eight levels ratchet up the difficulty fairly quickly.
Plus, the game has infrequent save points between long series of puzzles, so if you fail after about 15 minutes of concentrated play, the level resets and you have to start all over again. And at times, the camera angles are wonky, making it hard to figure out how to jump on platforms. Some of the instructions were insufficient or flashed onscreen for too short a time, which caused our testers to have to guess or experiment with certain levels.
While not perfect, the "WALL-E" console game does a good job of capturing the charm of this little robot, and that creates a big part of the game's fun. Plus, kids will like exploring an expanded version of the world presented in the film. And the puzzles are clever, challenging and varied.
RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)
$49.99 for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PS3. Versions also available for PS2, Win/Mac, and PSP
Best for ages 9 and up
Jinny Gudmundsen is the kid-tech columnist for Gannett News Service and USA Today.com, and is also the editor of Computing with Kids Ezine.