Setup & Timing
Planet 51: The Game's interface is made with kids in mind because of its relation to the kid-oriented motion picture. After getting into a profile, "Multiplayer" is on the main menu and "Single-Card Play" immediately follows on the Multiplayer menu. The opening credits are a little shorter than average and the download speed is average.
Menus & Navigation
The menu system can be navigated by touch screen or button controls. The button control interface is flawless. The touch screen interface works well, with accurate tap reading. There's sufficient space in between clearly-labeled options, but no more than that.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Once into the game itself, the game is button controlled. All of the controls make sense (steer with the Direction Pad, accellerate with the "A" button, brake with the "B" button, and swerve left and right with the "L" and "R" buttons). The reaction times and accuracy are partially affected by the selected vehicle (each vehicle has different statistics). For the most part, the steering is accurate, but movements on uneven terrain (such as the Construction Site) drastically reduce accuracy, as the changes in terrain don't seem to match the changes in control. Each location has its own unique properties, but the Construction Site is the only one that seems somewhat unbalanced. Thankfully, it's unbalanced for among all players.
Category Score: 12.5 / 15
Graphically, the game looks fine - there are better looking games on the Nintendo DS and there are far worse looking games as well. Audibly, the game's sound effects fit in well and keep the mood, not to mention letting you know what's going on around you. Unfortunately, the sound effects aren't as loud or dramatic as they could be, keeping the mood from ramping up to where it could be. There are three locations to select from and four vehicles to choose from, and options for time limit, computer opponents, and vehicle equalization.
The general assumption regarding movie-based video games is that they're going to be terrible. This is NOT always the case, but when it is, it's often because these game have a smaller budget and/or these games are rushed out the door before being properly finished in order to be released alongside the movie itself. Some of the games are good. For other such games, a different approach is taken... don't follow the movie directly. One game to try this method that was reviewed on this site is Igor: The Game. Another is Planet 51: The Game.
While the main part of Planet 51: The Game follows racing and driving elements, the only part of the game reviewed here is (as always) the Single-Card Download portion of the game. In this case, it's a demolition derby. Drive your vehicles into other players' vehicles. That's it. The experience isn't very deep, but it doesn't need to be. There's great replay value, because altering the number of vehicles drastically changes the dynamics, as do other options like time limits and equalization. Planet 51: The Game's Single-Card Download multiplayer isn't the best game available with Single-Card Download play, but it is a great amount of mindless fun and is worth trying out.
Make the terrain irregularities and the control issues match at the Construction Site location.
Increase the sound and magnatude of the sound effects for crashes.
Add in more options for vehicles and locations.
Allow for more than four players at a time (6? 8? 16?).
Let players design their battle arenas for the demolition derby.
Offer the racing events through Single-Card Download play.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 83 / 100 (a.k.a. 41.5/50)
Other information available:
If you'd like to contact this website:
to return to the DSSingleCard.com Planet 51: The Game profile.
to return to the DSSingleCard.com main page.