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Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile

For: Mobile

Upwardly mobile, that is

Product: Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile | Developer: Handheld Games Corporation | Publisher: Telcogames | Format: Mobile | Genre: Conversion, Platform | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 438KB | Reviewed on: W900i other handsets | Version: Europe
Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile Mobile, thumbnail 1
Racket & Clank: Going Mobile is a dinky 2D version of Sony's very three-dimensional erstwhile heroes of PlayStation 2 (and also PSP, of course).

But here's the great thing about it: after about ten minutes you actually forget that you're playing a 2D mobile game that, in theory, should be just a butchering of better source material, and instead you're just enjoying a well-made platform adventure.

Leaping to the bit where we give the game all the praise is getting a little ahead of ourselves, so let's continues with a mini recap for Ratchet virgins. Ratchet and Clank were two of a group of new characters Sony introduced to the PlayStation software family when the PS2 was the Next Big Thing in video games.

Alongside the more adventure-focused Jak and Daxter, the two – an armed cat and robot sidekick – fused platforming and 'lite' puzzling with fast-paced action that focused on pretty cartoon explosions created by excellent graphics, superb controls and a delicious arsenal of weapons that were at once frenetic and funny.

So, the question is, has any of that survived in the flattening of the characters from 3D to 2D? Short answer: yes. Long answer: yeeesss. (And possibly with a few exclamation marks after it, too.)

As for what has survived, it's pretty much everything, albeit on a much smaller scale. The game sees Ratchet and Clank shrunk down and turned into mobile data locked within your phone – and, of course, it's up to you to get them out by playing through close to 20 levels.

Each level is a run-and-gun platform-driven stage with pitfalls and enemies. They're fairly short but that's by no means a bad thing – especially when much of the action hinges on replaying through levels multiple time to get to previously inaccessible areas, and in turn collect enough nuts and bolts (and the rarer Titanium Bolts) to access bigger and better weapons. In other words, there's a good length/variety trade-off in place.

On top of that, aside from the main game there's an Arena mode which offers specific challenges, such as completing a level in a time limit. Its elements are unlocked as you play through, simply adding the level option on display as and when it becomes available.

While the shooting and platforming gameplay is admittedly fairly typical – we've seen the set-up before in plenty of other games – it's all wrapped up in very well crafted design that escalates and rewards you whether you play through it once, twice, or a few times. Great value for money, then.

When you look back at how the franchise has jumped from platform to platform (PS2, PSP and now mobile), it's clear that Ratchet and Clank as game characters have the kind of longevity and purity of concept that only rivals like Mario can boast. That and the fact that if this 'small-scale' mobile game version is any evidence, the core dynamic at the centre of the franchise is as comparably solid as the majority of the Nintendo plumber's outings.

And you can't get praise much higher than that.
Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile
Reviewer photo
Michael French | 1 February 2006
A great example of a classic platformer that comes packed with loads to do and to unlock
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