|System: X360, PS3, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Pyro Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||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|
As you continue through the game's many missions, the human (alien) astronaut Chuck and his sidekick robot Rover land on the planet. You'll also be able to control these two characters during some missions. These two characters' missions help to provide some much needed variety to Lem's plethora of lawn mowing, racing, delivering, fetching, demolition derby, and drive to a specific destination type endeavors.
Some examples are Chuck running from trash can to trash can through town using them as cover to avoid police and running through an alley chasing Rover, needing to perform quick-time button presses to successfully make your way through obstacles. Rover's levels on the other hand mainly consist of using his scanner to find special rocks and then collecting them or following a spotlight through hordes of enemies in order to remain hidden (which really doesn't make any sense).
Another major concern with Planet 51 is its difficulty. Early in the game missions are almost obnoxiously easy to complete, with putting the controller down and walking away being about the only way to fail. Besides the game becoming increasingly more difficult due to the faster speed of your available vehicles, as the game progresses you'll also find random difficulty spikes that may prove too much for younger gamers to handle. One minute you'll be completing a race with no problems and the next you'll be tasked with following an enemy closely, which either takes clairvoyance or multiple plays through for level memorization, and then absolutely perfect execution in order to achieve success. There are a good handful of missions in this game that I believe will cause many younger gamers to put down Planet 51 and never come back to it.
So, while Planet 51 isn't nearly as bad as E.T. for the Atari 2600 was, it still has many issues that'll keep it from being a fan favorite. Whether it's the floaty and complicated vehicle handling, the confused radar, the repetitive nature of the missions, or the random and surprising difficulty spikes, Planet 51 gives players (especially younger ones) a multitude of good reasons to stay away. This is unfortunate considering that at least the game wasn't just another movie-based action platformer, but in the end the bad manages to outweigh the good.
CCC Staff Contributor