Avatar: The Legend of Aang

We haven’t seen much of the cartoon on which this Nickelodeon tie-in is based, but we do know that it’s about the last chap alive with the ability to manipulate wind. Rather than use this power to lift up ladies’ skirts, he must instead ultilise it to battle the pyromaniac Fire Nation. Why the creators have blessed him with the least impressive of Mother Nature’s arsenal we have no idea – perhaps it’s just an excuse to slip in the odd fart joke.

Avatar: The Legend of AangAlthough the cartoon has American writers it has been influenced by Japanese anime in many ways. The same applies for the gameplay – rather than being a ‘collect spinning power-ups platformer’ it’s a ‘collect spinning power-ups RPG’. All the traditional elements are in place: experience points are gained from every enemy killed, items can be bought and sold, characters ‘level up’, and stats and skills can be fiddled with. The menus aren’t as complex as those found in more mature RPGs, but they aren’t exactly child-friendly either, with dozens of fiddly tabs and sub-menus to navigate. There’s a fair bit of text as well, most notable during the umpteen ‘go fetch me something’ quests.

The combat itself is of the standard hack and slash variety. The collision detection spoils the solidity a bit – enemies’ health goes down even if you don’t actually hit them square on – and the balancing could have done with a tweak. The ‘best worst example’ of the latter is that near the start of the game a wind blast attack is earned which will kill the early enemies (wolves) with one hit.

Up to four characters can be in your party, who can be swapped using the d-pad. Their AI isn’t amazing, but it suffices, and they have different skill sets to you. Avatar also learns new moves along his way, which ties in nicely as he’s a lad still in training.

The fact that it’s an RPG-lite elevates it above the usual cartoon licensed pap, and Avatar fans – of which there are a fair few about – will no doubt see it through to the end and appreciate the little details – like being able to temporarily control monkey Momo, Avatar’s pet.

Even though there’s a radar/map in the corner that points out where to go next, it’s not impossible to imagine young gamers finding things a bit more complex than the games that they’re used to playing. But obviously anybody who has played through Final Fantasy or Baldur’s Gate will find it a breeze.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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