Gormiti: The Lords of Nature!ESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: Action Games
Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment
Same screen cooperative play
Dynamic character switching
Play as characters from tv show and toy/trading card line
Okay, I have to admit that I had to do a little research here to find out what exactly Gormiti was. I’ve never heard of it before! Gormiti is a line of toys centred around every day kids that can transform into different elementals of nature: Earth, Forest, Sea and Air to help protect a magical world named Gorm against an evil Lord Magmion. The toy line is made up of figures and a trading card element and there is also a TV show developed by Marathon Media and Giochi Preziosi. So, with a little help from my eight year old nephew, we spent a some good time with this title and came away moderately impressed.
Gormiti is a very colourful game. The different levels are very vibrant and play off well against the basic colours of each character (red, green, blue, yellow and white). Just don’t expect a ton of super detailed textures. The textures that are there are relatively basic but they do the job with the game’s overall cartoony look. Hey, it’s a Wii game and helps to keep things moving nice and smoothly. A few average looking particle effects such as flames help to bring the world to life.
The character models are a little on the generic side and the primary mode of differentiation is obviously their colour. If it’s not obvious when playing, the red guys are the bad guys! Character animations are nice and smooth which helps most during combat. Decent looking cut scenes help the overall presentation.
What impressed me most about the game’s sound was the voice acting. I didn’t expect the voice acting to be anything worth mentioning but it is actually very good, especially since this sort of thing seems overlooked too often when it comes to Wii titles. Credit to Climax for doing a good job here.
Unfortunately, everything else about the sound is simply average. I’m not saying it wasn’t okay. Nothing really stood out. Can I refer to a game’s sound as “functional?” I guess I just did. The bigger point here is that there’s nothing that stands out as bad.
At first glance Gormiti looks like it appeals to an audience a little younger than what it’s rating of E10+ suggests. It combines a couple of gameplay elements, most prominently some combat and platforming. Beneath that though are some simple puzzle elements that might confuse some younger gamers. My eight year old nephew helped me play test this one and there were a few occasions where he got stuck and needed some help. Let that be a note to any parents looking into this one for their kids.
The game plays out with you controlling three of the tribe leaders at a time. You actually really only control a single character but you can easily swap between each of the three. Swapping becomes necessary during the gameplay to maximize scoring. This is important because your “score” also works, interestingly, as a health currency for lack of a better description. Among the levels there are various coloured crystals and collectables to grab. Grab them with a character of like colour (grab blue crystals with the blue character) to earn more points. It’s not imperative though. My nephew was quite content to simply grab them with any character and it didn’t appear to detract from the overall gameplay.
While on the topic of swapping between characters, the AI controls the characters that you are not currently playing. The AI does a decent job of this especially during the combat stages where the other characters actually contribute to doing away with the bad Lava tribe guys. The combat is relatively basic but it works. There are a few simple combos that are easy for the younger players to pick up on and use. Swapping also becomes critical to advancing through levels. Among the levels are various character specific points where you must swap to that particular character and put them on that spot where they can do a special move specific to their tribe’s elemental attribute.
Gormiti does allow for two players to play cooperatively which is always a welcome feature. Even better is that the second player can jump into game play at any time. There isn’t a ton of depth to this game play but hey, it’s a kid’s game!
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