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Pixar seems to be the exception to the rule when it comes to crappy movie games. Cars and both of the Incredibles games were not only very well received, but also pretty decent games. Lately, however, it seems like THQ and Pixar have been slacking, and Up seems to be yet another title in the descent of quality.
For those who don't know, Up is Pixar's latest movie about a boy and an old man who have a fantastic adventure with a floating house. It's a heartwarming romp for the whole family. The game, on the other hand, isn't. The biggest problem with development on PSP games is that for the most part, developers create games for consoles and port them to the handheld, without first considering the strengths of the console. Up is one such case where the PSP version was just kinda shoved out there into the market.
Like all other children's movie games, Up follows the path of the movie while also adding in a few extra areas. It also sticks to one of the themes of the movie: "working together." You control the old man, Carl, and the young boy, Russell, as they discover adventure and look for a way home. Both of the characters has a specialty, such as Carl being able to climb up higher by using his walker cane as a grappling hook of sorts. There will be instances where you'll have to launch Carl up onto a higher area and have him come back and pick Russell up.
But there's a catch. The AI is stupid. When it's in control of a character, it gets stuck on boxes, runs around in circles (literally), and sometimes just stands still. Thankfully, you can hop between each character by pressing the square button, but that only means you have to babysit two characters instead of just one. I'm sure this co-op style works better on a console that 1) has more power behind it for AI, and 2) is actually able to have two people controlling each character.
The rest of the game is really nothing special. The platforming is a little awkward due to the camera system not being implemented very well, it switches between a fixed perspective and one you control. The game features a lot of collectibles, but those don't amount to anything other than things to collect. There are also three mini-game type levels where you control a canoe down a river, fly a plane, and finally jump across huge gaps while being attached to the floating house. These three game types are interspersed between the normal platforming levels, in the hopes of breaking up the monotony. There are also a few ad-hoc multiplayer minigames available, but I was unable to play these due to the lack of an extra system.
It's a shame that developers don't put more effort into their PSP games. The DS games are usually taken care of by another development company and play to the strengths of the system, whereas PSP games just exist in an awkward design space between handheld and console.
ESRB:E for Everyone