After creating such a sublime piece of platform-puzzle goodness with A Boy and his Blob for Wii, you would expect WayForward to be able to do no wrong when creating a pure platform adventure, and in many ways the DS edition of Batman: The Bold and the Brave is a roaring success, turning out to be a pastiche of various game styles that gel together extremely well. Take some Metroid wall-jumping, a dash of Lost Vikings character switching to suit different scenarios, and even a modicum of the magic found within A Boy and his Blob, and you can already imagine how Batman: The Brave and the Bold is likely to impress the majority of DS owners.
Right from the start players are treated to the standard ‘introductory’ stage, where the standard set of moves for Batman are taught. Jump and hold B when near a wall to cling on, let go and Batman launches towards the wall on the opposite side, at which point if you hold B again he will stick there…repeat and wall-jumping, Metroid style, becomes a reality. In fact, there are many aspects of this that pay homage to the classic 2D Metroid titles, such as the using a grapple gun to drag the caped crusader upwards and use his upper body strength to traverse metal bars up above. Punch repeatedly with Y to get ‘Batsy’ (as the Joker sarcastically calls him) to pull off a combination of attack moves, hit the X button to do an overhead slam, or tap A to throw you Batarang out. There is a wide array of moves to pull off that prevent each level from turning into simple button-mashing affairs.
Reaching the end of a level brings players into a boss battle situation where the likes of Catwoman, Morgaine le Fey, The Joker, Clock King, and Baby Face must be overcome in what are extremely well thought-out arenas that force gamers to make the best use of both of the characters’ moves in order to despatch of the villain. Upon defeat, Batman jumps into his Batmobile before being thrown into the next level full of bad guys to deal with. However, before launching into more action, you can actually choose to take some time to wander around the Batcave, a place that acts like the hub area of A Boy and his Blob, where the Caped Crusader can buy upgrades for his arsenal, change his clothing, or even take part in numerous extremely difficult challenges that unlock after playing through certain sections of the main adventure (such as Boss Rush or enemy endurance modes). Bat-Mite also makes an appearance in the Batcave, where he allows gamers to hook the DS game up to the Wii one. Once connected, players will be able to play as him in the Wii game to throw various useful items around during the home console adventure.
The main draw of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, though, definitely has to be the use of character switching. Amidst all the clever platform action there is the opportunity to jump between controlling the Dark Knight himself, or the likes of Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Plastic Man. Each of them comes with their own unique abilities, such as Green Arrow being able to shoot from his bow into walls to create temporary steps, Plastic Man’s hands turning into hammers for smashing through rock barriers, or Red Tornado having the ability to float for a short time to cross treacherous gaps. Switching between the two is as simple as tapping on the character’s profile on the touch-screen, and during each level the team-mates can even link-up at times. After dealing out a certain amount of hits to the enemy, the two characters can pull off a powerful combination attack move that temporarily make them invulnerable, as well as dishing out a devastating amount of damage. There are also moments where Protobot, a prototype robot of Batman’s, tries to ‘help,’ yet most of the time ends up malfunctioning. The massive robot slowly stomps around, firing off energy balls and lashing out at the ground below, causing debris to fall from above, both of which actually caused Batman to lose health unless the player can deftly dodge the incoming rain of fire and rocks, whilst ensuring the current batch of foes are cleared so the level can progress. All-in-all, Batman: The Brave and the Bold on DS is a thoroughly enjoyable portable platform adventure from the kings of the genre, albeit one that finishes all too quickly.