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Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots (Nintendo DS) Review

Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots is the third video game – following SpongeBob and Friends: Unite! and Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island – to feature an “all-star” cast of characters from Nickelodeon’s various children’s cartoons. A huge variety of characters are featured, including a couple from TV shows that are no longer on the air. However, despite its many attempts to fool you into thinking that you’re watching a Saturday morning cartoon, Attack of the Toybots is in fact a brawl-heavy action title. You can find out whether or not it’s any good by reading on for our full review of the Nintendo DS version.

The game’s main single-player adventure is split into six separate stages (the last of which is not available until the previous five have been completed). Each stage is based on a particular cartoon, for example SpongeBob SquarePants’ Bikini Bottom, The Fairly OddParents’ Fairy World, and so on. It is the player’s job to traverse each stage and perform a number of tasks in order to bring down the evil Dr. Calamitous, Jimmy Neutron’s arch nemesis from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius television series. You see, the Dr. has taken it upon himself to create a series of evil-toy producing factories in yet another attempt to “take over the world”, etc, etc.

Screenshot for Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Before entering a stage players must choose two characters – which can be switched between on the fly - from the game’s hefty roster. Initial characters include the likes of SpongeBob, Tak and Danny Phantom, but many more can be unlocked later on. Each stages is split into three distinct sections; an Action Area, a Ride Area and a Boss Area. The Action Area is extremely combat-heavy, and ultimately makes up the bulk of the game. Unfortunately, it soon becomes extremely repetitive and rather dull. Players only have access to a single attack and no defensive or combo options. Whilst each attack can be charged up or combined with a jump, the end result doesn’t change much, so it’s rarely worth the effort. Plus, just to make things even more ‘fun’, the game forces you to destroy each and every enemy before it lets you progress.

Despite the game’s rather impressive character roster, there isn’t a great deal of variety between characters’ attacks. When combined with limited combat options, this soon results in constant button-mashing affair that quickly becomes tiresome. There are a few touch screen mini-games scattered throughout to keep things interesting, but these are generally brief and prove to be little more than quick distractions that feel a little out of place. The Action Area’s repetitive nature is further enhanced by extremely linear level design, which almost never deviates from its: fight enemies, complete mini-game, fight enemies, find Mech-Suit, fight more enemies and an end-of-area factory machine, formula.

Screenshot for Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Mech-Suit, you say? Alas, it isn’t nearly as interesting as it sounds. Simply put, each stage contains one of these battle-ready robots and will offer it to players as they near the end of the level. Unfortunately, the suits don’t add any interesting combat options, but simply allow for more powerful button-mashing. They’re also necessary to destroy the end-of-area factory machines, which can fire lasers and spawn enemies, but which also end up as little more than punching bags for your button-mashing. When combined with collision detection problems that are the result of mixing a 3D Mech with 2D enemies, the Action Areas will ultimately leave a sour taste in all but the most easily-pleased mouths.

We won’t give up on the game just yet, though. After all, there are two additional Areas to discuss, not to mention multiplayer. So, let’s start with the Ride Areas, which, as you might expect, are simply racing sections. Unfortunately, they’re pretty basic too. Players ride around in the Mech from the previous area, whilst trying to collect Nuts and Bolts (which are needed for Boss encounters), painting icons (which unlock portraits of non-playable characters) and avoiding obstacles. Nuts and Bolts are gradually depleted over time and when a collision occurs, although the latter can be avoided by boosting. Controls aren’t particularly tight, and levels are rather short, but it’s mildly enjoyable, and certainly less mind-numbing than the Action Areas.

Screenshot for Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Boss Areas are entirely 3D and take place from a first-person perspective. The goal of each Boss encounter is to deplete an enemy Mech’s health whilst retaining sufficient Nuts and Bolts to keep your own Mech up and running. Players have access to a quick-fire attack and a slower, more powerful blast, both of which are needed not only to pummel the enemy Mech, but also to damage certain level-specific objects such as turrets, which can also damage your Mech if left unchecked. Once again, these encounters are mildly entertaining, but suffer from being to repetitive. Plus, difficulty is all but a non-issue because of the mass of Nuts and Bolts that most players will have accumulated in the previous two areas.

Before we come to a conclusion, it’s worth noting that this game has clearly been designed with co-operative play in mind. The dual-character Action Areas and the second Mech you can see lurking in the background of Boss encounters are testament to that. Thankfully the game offers both single- and multi-card support for multiplayer, although the former has some limits in the form of no cut-scenes, a more limited character roster, and increased load times. It’s also easier to overlook some of the game’s flaws if you have a friend playing along with you, but length becomes more of a problem because enemies are being dispatched more quickly.

Screenshot for Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Each area features gameplay that is briefly entertaining, but ultimately becomes dull and repetitive, especially the Action Areas. Obviously the game has been designed with a younger audience in mind, but even kids will likely find themselves bored with this fairly quickly.

Graphics


The game’s visuals are surprisingly polished compared to the rather lackluster gameplay. The Action Area environments are particularly detailed and full of life and there’s a lot of variety between the game’s various stages. Animations are pretty good too.

Sound

If you listen closely you’ll hear a few snatches of dialogue from the various characters’ TV-show voice actors, which is a nice treat, but definitely limited by the DS. Music is very Saturday morning cartoon-esque, which you’ll either love or hate.

Value

Very disappointing; there’s a few hours of gameplay available at most. Unlockable Nicktoon portraits also offer little incentive to revisit the game after an initial play through. A larger variety of characters should have improved replayability, but their similarity puts a stop to that.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots is very much a game for children. It’s extremely simple and reeks of a Saturday morning cartoon turned into a video game. Nevertheless, simplicity should not have to equate to dull and repetitive gameplay, linear level design or a short overall play time. Unfortunately, it does in this case, and no amount of visual polish or extra characters can change that. Whilst there are no frustrating glitches or oversights to speak of, the game just isn’t particularly fun, even for a younger audience. Co-operative play helps out a bit, but ultimately can’t change the fact that this game is going to be a yawn-fest for all but the most dedicated Nickelodeon fans. Patrick Star is always kick-arse, though.

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04.12.2007

3

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Developer

THQ

Publisher

THQ

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Shame this game's not up to scratch :-( Anyone on C3 played it or interested in it?

Hopefully the Wii game's a bit better (will be playing it later). After all, I've seen there's Ren, Stimpy and Rocko included, three of my old favourites. I wonder if Doug makes an appearance as well...hmm.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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