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Tron Evolution

For: DS   Also on: DSi
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Neon light entertainment

Product: Tron Evolution | Developer: n-Space | Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios | Format: DS | Genre: Action, Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1-4 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Tron Evolution DS, thumbnail 1
If you’ve seen the new Tron film, you’ve probably been stunned by the neon-bathed art direction, but left cold on every other level.

Tron Evolution works on almost the opposite principle. It’s no looker, but tries to make up for it with solid underlying gameplay mechanics.

Ultimately, though, the game fails to truly captivate by offering little in terms of plot or originality.

Lost the plot

With a story unrelated to the film, Tron Evolution puts you in the light-laced Lycra of your own personalised rookie System Monitor, tasked with protecting the computer world of Tron.

Not being tied down to the events of the film results in a game that's free explore the most iconic elements of the Tron universe, as well as revealing new locations to add to the series' mythos.

Unfortunately, this results in a game lacking in cohesion, and it struggles to stitch together its various sections into a convincing package.

Light cycle battles, tank showdowns, and recognizer runs all make brief appearances, but sadly feel tacked on compared to the top-down action/puzzle sections which make up the meat of the game.

Control overload

The controls in the main adventure sections of the game do take advantage of the DS’s functions, but can be described as merely functional rather than exceptional.

You use the D-pad or the face buttons (depending on your preferred main hand) to move, with the L or R trigger used to block attacks.

Throwing your light disc - your main weapon - is achieved by making directed sweeps of the stylus on the touchscreen.

A few other touch-controlled moves, such as drawing a circle to unleash a spin disc attack, are also available during the game. They are unlocked by progression in the Story mode, or you can buy them with tokens that can be collected throughout the game.

Most are rendered useless in the heat of battle, however, with repeated mad swiping on the touchscreen occasionally necessary to deal with larger gangs of enemies. Overall, it’s a solid control system, but one lacking depth or panache.

The vehicle sections involve touchscreen controls that are even more awkward. The light cycle battles are particularly fiddly, with an unnecessary mix of touch and button operated commands that doesn't befit the quick reactions needed to master the speedy cycles.

Virus protection

Generally, though, it’s the enemies that help vary the combat, rather than the tools you have at your disposal.

There’s a decent mix of baddies, from those that de-rez with just one hit to aggressive programs that you’ll fear bumping into in the game's many tight corridors.

A fair fight is sometimes out of the question – if you’re hit you don’t get the consolation of a brief invincibility period. A gang of enemies can therefore land consecutive hits on you, without you getting any chance to retaliate.

Flaws such as this should have been spotted and rectified, although well-spaced checkpoints generally help quell your frustration.

Flaws in the system

Luckily, you’ll be puzzle solving as much as you’ll be battling, with some simple conundrums thrown into break up the disc-flinging action.

These don’t go much further than taking one item and getting it somewhere else, but they’re designed with a certain efficiency and charm. Further variety comes about in the form of circuit board grids, which have you rotating wires to connect up two plugs (think of the pipe sections in BioShock).

It’s a shame, then, that the puzzles never really get a chance to truly tax your grey matter. The game’s plot, involving a mysterious meddler, is over as soon as it begins, with the ending unsatisfying and sudden.

Extra value could have come through a multiplayer mode, offering tank, light disc, light cycle, and recognizer run battles, but a lack of a single cart option or online connectivity restricts this potential audience.

All the above factors suggest either a lack of ambition from developer n-Space and publisher Disney and/or tight time constraints. Either way, the game struggles to make any kind of lasting impression.
Tron Evolution
Reviewer photo
Simon Reed | 13 January 2011
Tron Evolution is a solid enough action/puzzle title, but underneath the neon art style there's not much you haven’t seen before
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