Bratz Rock Angelz (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew
Because I haven't seen the DVD this game is based on, it seemed right to do a little research before I reviewed the game and it's fair to say BRATZ are everywhere! There are toys, games, stationery, posters and clothing. In fact there's just about everything you can imagine to tie-in with these four girls. It's no surprise then that the franchise has made its way onto the GBA. This isn't the first outing on Nintendo's handheld system either, only a couple of years ago Ubi Soft released a rather uninspired take on the girls' adventures. There's no doubting just how popular these characters are but does that make for an entertaining GBA title? Read on and see...
If you haven't caught the DVD then I'd better fill you in with the basics but please note this is from the press release. I don't actually speak like this. 'The girls with a passion for fashion, Yasmin, Chloe, Sasha and Jade, are taking self expression to a whole new level as they start their very own ''stylin' teen magazine''. Their first assignment: fly to exciting London and scoop a scorchin' rock concert! But when Burdine Maxwell, the seriously evil editor of rival Your Thing magazine and her evil twin interns, Kirstee and Kaycee, show up, their passes to the rock concert mysteriously disappear. The Bratz realize that the only way they can get into the concert is by becoming a rock band!'
This transfers to a game format similar in structure to The Sims although this is not only far simpler there's also much less freedom to wander around. The game is driven by an ever-changing task list. Complete one and another is added with most of them completed in the same area. There's little in the way of mystery so you won't have to endlessly search for clues or combine items in order to create something special. An icon marks everything you're required to do and the first task (which is cleaning) simply requires you to take a brush, visit the spots with an icon above then press 'A' to sweep. Almost everything else is done in this manner with 'simple' being the name of the game. Don't expect too much conversation from incidental characters either and if you chat to, say, someone on the same floor as the fashion magazine they'll repeatedly quote the same line. Mind you maybe people who work in fashion magazines are really like that. Who knows?
Once you're comfortable with the basics you can change character, which is essential because as the game progresses each of the girls has different tasks to carry out. It's also here where you get far more interesting tasks in the form of mini-games. These are all based on classics but with a definite BRATZ angle. One game where they have to make a necklace, for example, is clearly a version of snake but involves threading a variety of jewels whilst avoiding the parameters. In another you work in an Ice Cream Parlor where you must make sure that the correct order goes out whilst other simply allow you to show off your Skateboarding skills. There are rewards for all these and you are paid in the BRATZ currency known as Bling Bling. This can be traded for other things, such as more clothes or jewelry, down the line. Thankfully all these mini-games are available from the menu system once you have unlocked them in the main game giving much needed replay value to the whole package. On a final note it has a battery save but rather than being automatic you can save at any time but you must do it via the menu. I only mention this as no one likes to re-play levels simply because their power ran out.
Not only incredibly simple but also explained every step of the way and even the mini-games have instructions with them. My only minor gripe is with some of the collision detection where you'll occasionally have to enter a door four of five times before you actually come out the other side.
Visually BRATZ is simple but functional and the isometric viewpoint works very well for this style of game. The tiny characters are also well animated managing to convey a range of emotions and you can also change their clothes and hairstyles which is essential for parts of the game where you must go undercover. Constant links with the movie are also kept thanks to the generous number of cut-scenes, which help push the story along and give a much-needed break from the tasks.
As you'd expect there's no spoken dialogue from the movie and instead all the speech is done via on-screen text. Strangely though the developers don't even appear to have lifted any of the music from the big screen outing either even though the plot has music at its core so you'd expect at least a few tracks. Instead we get some generic, but also rather pleasing background music, which unlike much of GBA audio today doesn't have you reaching for the volume control.
Whether this game was good, bad or indifferent it's going to sell a huge number of copies. You only have to visit the official BRATZ board to get an idea of how fans feel about their four heroines. In fact it's actually quite good but as usual, with titles clearly aimed at young girls, I bowed down to the wisdom of my nieces who have enough BRATZ dolls and accessories to populate a small village. They both thoroughly enjoyed it, so clearly for at least one six year old and a somewhat older nine year old this game is a winner. From a design point of view it's a good mix too. The adventure framework, which doesn't continually try to lose its player, plus the added mini-games, will give hours of entertainment to young gamers. Overall it's refreshing to see a game aimed at girls, which has had a bit of thought behind it and, if my nieces are anything to go by, it also comes highly recommended by BRATZ fans.
Pro: Loads of Mini-Games.
Con: Maybe Too Simple for Older Girls.
Final score: 7.5
|Platform:||Game Boy Advance|
|Genre:||Adventure / Party Games|