Well, this is a disappointment. Considering the DS's stylus controls, you'd think that developer n-Space would've found a lot more interesting (not to mention entertaining) ways to replicate the Tron movie vibe with Tron Evolution. But you'd think wrong. So very, very wrong.
Instead, Tron Evolution for DS is a repetitive, ugly-lookin' snoozer of a game, less likely to get you psyched up for sci-fi action than your high-school physics teacher during a final exam. Unlike the PSP version, the DS version takes place entirely from a top-down perspective, whether you're racing light cycles or wandering around Evolution's extremely linear (and extremely cyan) world. While the graphics aren't bad for DS, at least from a purely polygons-n-particles perspective, they use the same basic color palettes over and over and over, until you're so sick of pastel blue and green that you never, ever want to go to a Seattle Seahawks game, ever.
Gameplay, for its part, consists of several different modes, all more or less intertwined through Evolution's main story campaign. While you will race light cycles (probably Evolution's finest hour) and you will chuck Tron's trademark discs at people (although much, much more often at switches), the look of the game never really changes, no matter what you're doing. We wish we could say that, despite the tepid color palette and repetitive gameplay that Tron had some redeeming qualities but – well, actually it does have a few.
First, the sound design is really impressive. The sound engineers were somehow able to make the DS's tinny little speakers produce something pretty close to what the sound effects sounded like in the movie. Discs appropriately Doppler to and fro, and the musical tracks manage to approximate the electro-chill vibe that the movie rocks. Additionally, Evolution for DS does a fairly good job of explaining the story of what happened between the time periods of the two Tron films. Most of this exposition is simple dialogue boxes, but, if you're into the Tron world and are a fan of the movies, this'll fill in some background for you.
Apart from those two curiosities, however, Evolution isn't worth your time. While it does do a lot of exposition, the storyline itself isn't particularly compelling, and your character is just a generic in medias res type that's been used ad nasueam in every game since Latin was the official world language. The gameplay is frequently repetitive and frustrating, mostly because level design is simplistic and puzzles are obvious, but also because the control scheme means you've often got the stylus in front of the screen when you need to be able to see it. Unless you're someone who is obsessed with all things Tron, stay away from Evolution – hell, you don't even get to see Olivia Wilde in a body suit. Weak.
Jan 27, 2011