Ahhh, you gotta love Batman. Movies, TV shows, video games, comics, action figures… The list goes on, and all of this from a guy who dresses like a bat. Let’s face it, the vigilante detective has popped up on pretty much all of the video game platforms, in one form or another. And most recently with huge success. Arkham Asylum was a blast. Now he is appearing in something a little lighter and less gritty, Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Although it may sound like a cheesy daytime TV show, the Brave and the Bold is in fact a very popular cartoon, that gives Batman a much more child friendly feel. One of the best things about this animated series are the appearances from other popular DC heroes. The video game is no different in this respect. Available on both the Wii and DS, Batman: The Brave and the Bold offers two slightly different experiences. Whilst the Wii version of the game is much more combat heavy, on the DS the emphasis is squarely set on platforming, which is much more suitable to the Nintendo handheld.
So, the story is split into different episodes and the set up is the same each time. Batman must hunt down a villain through the various platform levels, before finally catching up with and having to defeat said villain. However, the caped crusader is not alone and will be joined in each episode by another hero of the DC world, such as Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Blue Beetle (as well as some not so colour coded heroes)This is where the game moves from being a simple platformer to something a little more involved.
Each of these additional heroes has their own set of moves and it is through the careful combination of the two characters that the player will get through each level. Each of the levels in the game are well thought out and play to the particular moves that can be used within. There are some nice little puzzles to be found in the game and whilst they are not particularly challenging, this is a kids game after all, there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had from working them out.
Switching between the two characters involves a simple swipe on the screen which, aside from browsing the utility belt, is really the only time that the DS touch screen will be used. Having the two characters work together is an entertaining experience and the developers have done a great job of finding ways for them to interact. The tag-team attacks are well worth using, if only to see how they work.
The combat in the game, upon which there is not so much emphasis, is a fairly simple affair. Armed with a light and heavy attack, the player will be able to get through most situations. Block and grapple are also available, and of course the infamous utility belt will hold a few gadgets that can be used if things get dicey. Through the game, Batman will gather up the in game equivalent of “Batcash” that can be spent inbetween levels at the Batcave. Upgrading his health, armour or gadgets will certainly make the game a lot easier, but I am not sold on whether that is a good thing. Again I am reminded that this is a kids game.
This is more than evident from the graphics and sound. Taken directly from the kids TV show, the developers have done a good job of recreating the feel. The sprites are well animated and the levels fit in with the feeling of the show. The sounds too are impressive and fit in perfectly with the TV show theme.
The only downside to all of these wondrous bat shenanigans is that the main game is very short, taking only a couple of hours to get through. There is a certain amount of replayability though, as collectibles are hidden that will have to be found by the completists amongst you. There are also challenge stages that are unlocked for pretty much everything, further enticing the player back for more. And, although not adding anything to the DS game, there is even the possibility to link up with the Wii version of the game and unlock a new playable character.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold may be aimed at the younger audience, with it’s low level of challenge, bright cartoony visuals and more approachable vision of Batman, but that doesn’t mean that the older gamer cannot enjoy this title. This is a good, solid platformer that can be enjoyed by anyone.