|System: DS, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: WayForward Technologies||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The player can swap between Batman and his partner at any time by tapping the Nintendo DS Touch Screen, something youll have to do frequently throughout every level. Each stage has sections that only one character or the other can complete only Batman can climb across ceilings, while you might also need Red Tornados ability to freeze lava or Green Lanterns power to create blocks to climb. Perform a long enough combo and youll earn a tag-team attack in which both characters attack together. Theyre generally useless but can get you out of a few tight spots and are occasionally entertaining. I never thought Id see Batman and Aquaman ride on the back of a whale together.
Some of the games stages are perfectly crafted for the heroic duo that star in the episode. For example, the Batman/Red Tornado level is a perfect match for the characters, no other pairing could possibly complete the challenge. Some of the other stages arent quite as well-matched to the stars, but, in general, what makes The Brave and the Bold shine is the expert craftsmanship of the stages. Theres a nice variety of experiences throughout the game, including some levels that are focused more on platforming than combat, others that feature more aggressive enemies, and even one brief vehicular segment. In the hands of a lesser developer, The Brave and the Bold could have felt like a series of carbon-copy stages with interchangeable characters. Thanks to WayForward, each stage has a personality thats every bit as distinct as the heroes.
Perhaps because WayForward put so much care into every level, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a surprisingly short game. The core game only takes a couple hours to finish, and the bevy of unlockable challenges only provide a few extra minutes of gameplay each. Still, every one of the levels can be replayed to find all the hidden collectibles and there are challenge stages for each character, stage, and set of bosses. There are also secret codes to unlock new costumes and a Wii/DS link feature that unlocks Bat-Mite as a playable character for the Wii version. Short length or not, thats a lot of content for a DS game.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the all-ages equivalent of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Where Arkham Asylum made Batman a legitimate gaming character for adults, The Brave and the Bold does the same for younger players. It may not be a ground-breaking Game of the Year contender like Batmans last game, but its as solid of a portable side-scroller as Ive played in a long time. The bright, friendly version of Batman may not be who I think of when I think of Batman, but for many kids out there, this is about as good as an introduction to the character as you could hope for.
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer