Bolt Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC | Wii | PS2 | DS
Bolt box art
System: DS, X360, PS3, Wii, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Avalanche Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Disney Interactive 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 18, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The presentation fares a bit better, and though the graphics lack polish, the game’s vibe and look are sure to appeal to the Disney audience. Character models and environments look good, though a little grainy. You’ll travel to different locales around the world, including Russia and China, and you get a nice variety of distinct visual settings. Again, character movement isn’t very fluid, but the framerate is steady pretty much the whole way through. Cutscenes are done using still art and text dialogue that offer little pizzazz, but still make for a tight package, overall.

Bolt screenshot

The music is broken up to fit the locales you’ll travel to throughout the game, and they generally do a fine job of supporting the adventure. It’s all very generic and there isn’t a single cadence to tug at your heart strings, but music and sound effects are effective and fitting with the bubble-gum nature of this game.

As an aside (though not for Disney), Bolt DS includes something called DGamer. It’s a completely separate offering from the actual adventure, and it’s where the real value of this package lies. Simply put, DGamer is a chatroom device. No other DS tool – including Nintendo’s own Pictochat – has offered this level of personal interaction. You log on via the Nintendo WiFi Connection, and once online, you can enter various Disney-related chatrooms and engage in discussion with other DGamers. There’s a nice selection of options, and you’ll be able to customize your avatar with almost the same level of depth offered from Nintendo’s Mii system (from the Wii console interface). You’ll have to first register (for free) with the DGamer website if you want to be able to type in actual comments within chatrooms, though you can simply lurk as a guest if you like. By playing through the Bolt DS adventure, you’ll unlock a bunch of cool features you can use to further enhance your DGamer experience.


As a single adventure, Bolt DS is mediocre. It’s not a terrible game, but it greatly lacks focus and the mechanics are too loose to offer even mindless, button-mashing pleasure. Levels are repetitive, and the story and production values aren’t strong enough to support the lackluster gameplay. However, the unlockables available for DGamer are incentive enough to muddle through the adventure; the low level of challenge makes doing so an easy proposition. Additionally, there are a handful of challenges based on the Monkey Ball formula, and an unremarkable multiplayer offering also helps round out the package. Bolt DS might be worth a rent for fans of the movie, but only those folks who plan on making extended use of its DGamer tool should consider it for the long haul.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

Though lacking polish, the overall look is pleasing and the framerate is steady.
Basic control of each character works well enough, though movement lacks fluidity and lining up for attacks is haphazard. Screen sensitivity is also an issue during some elements of play.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Themes and sound effects do a decent job of supporting the gameplay – nothing more, nothing less. No voice acting; little excitement.

Play Value
The actual adventure isn’t worth much on its own, though there are far worse games on the market. But DGamer is where the real value of this package lies, and kids looking for a decent chatroom device to use on DS will find value in that alone.

Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • New story inspired by action-packed TV show from the film.
  • Play as Bolt or Penny.
  • Play as Rhino on special missions.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Bolt screenshot - click to enlarge Bolt screenshot - click to enlarge Bolt screenshot - click to enlarge Bolt screenshot - click to enlarge

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