It seems like only yesterday when I first heard of the phenomenon known as Code Lyoko. It was in fact when I reviewed Code Lyoko for the DS a few months back that I discovered this adolescent version of The Matrix and it was all thanks to The Game Factory. Now I have been known on numerous occasions to praise this company for creating quality games for younger audiences and with their Wii interpretation of this popular franchise I have to say the trend continues. Instead of resting solely on the original concept the folks at The Game Factory have produced a worthy follow-up to their initial efforts with streamlined game play and just enough waggle to make it feel like it belongs on the console.
For those of you out of the loop a little history seems appropriate. Code Lyoko follows a group of friends as they hack into a computer world in order to stop the evil computer known as Xana. In Quest for Infinity you assume control of Odd, Yumi, Aelita, and Ulrich while the fifth character Jeremy provides support. Much like its DS counterpart Quest for Infinity is divided up into two main sections, platforming and point and click adventure. This is where things begin to change from the portable outing. The DS version split these sections 50/50; however for the Wii iteration the developers have scaled back the point and click segments dramatically making for a much more streamlined pacing.
By focusing more on the action side Quest for Infinity delivers more of what the fans came for and less tedium to keep them playing. You can also switch between characters in real time thus eliminating the need for a hub like the DS version. This also keeps things moving at a brisk pace as certain situations will require specific characters and their abilities. You can also collect skill points throughout each level and continuously upgrade each character’s abilities which allow them to access new areas of levels similar to what I like to call the Metroid Effect.
Even though the game boasts four different characters each with unique attacks and abilities the game play feels the same regardless of which one you choose. Controls almost mimic the feel of a third person shooter as you can use the Wiimote to lock onto enemies at will. This of course comes with the occasional camera problems, but the freedom of targeting any enemy at will is worth the trade off. You move your avatar with the control stick, jump with the A button, block with Z, and unleash attacks with the B button. Controls are simple and intuitive, but also lacking depth. Switching characters becomes more of a chore than anything as it is only used to pass certain areas that one particular person cannot access.
Much like Soulcalibur Legends Quest for Infinity never tries to disguise what it wants to be. The platforming feels like it was lifted from (insert any platformer name here) and the levels are linear and bland at times. The bulk of the game has you running, jumping over obstacles, shooting enemies, and then recycling the process ad nauseam. Every once in a while the action will break apart into small puzzle segments and even a flying level that is possibly the most enjoyable part of the game. As you can imagine you steer with the Wiimote and lock onto enemies with the A button. While simple in design this mechanic works surprisingly well and does a nice job of disrupting the tedium of the archaic game design.
To pad the game each level has certain bonus items and objectives that cannot be accessed your first time through. The problem here is that the balance between upgrades and obtaining enough points is skewed. This forces the player to backtrack levels more than once making it feel more like a chore and honestly not worth the reward. Overall the game suffers from a few clichés that keep it from being exceptional and make it feel like any other platformer.
Visually the game takes most of its inspiration from the show which can be viewed as both a good and bad thing. The CGI sequences are reminiscent of the show sporting awkward animation and bright mixes of green and blue overtones. The levels however are flat and bland for the most part with very little complex geometry and a limited color palette. The character animations do shine though with some truly nice touches making the characters seem to come alive. The story sequences will also sound like they are being spoken in a foreign language if you are not an avid fan of the show as well as making me wonder what kids are into these days with some of the choice in dialogue.
Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity is a standard platformer that delivers more fan-service than anything else. If you are in the market for a solid platformer and a huge fan of the show there is enough here to recommend checking it out, but if you are craving the next great thing in the genre Code Lyoko will likely disappoint. Thankfully the game is a great representation of the show and a solid product to recommend to fans. Everything you loved about the DS version is here and everything that needed to be remedied has been. If you simply cannot get enough of these wanna-be Neos then Quest for Infinity is just what you are looking for.