Treasure Planet Review

Treasure Planet is based on the Robert Luis Stevenson inspired Disney movie of the same name.  If youíve seen the trailers for the movie, then you can probably guess that the solar surfer sequences that are featured so prominently in the preview have made their way into the videogame.  However, the solar surfer is only half of the package.  The game intersperses standard platform levels with the solar surfer levels, in effect giving you two games in one.


The gameís levels take place in the major locations featured in the film as Jim Hawkins and friends make their way from Montressor to the fabled Treasure Planet.  The levels are divided between platform and solar surfing levels, and each level features a set of challenges which will award you with a navigational beacon when completed.  The next level in the sequence will be unlocked when you collect enough beacons, which requires you to complete a majority of the challenges on a level, but not all of them.

In the gameís platform levels, you control Jim as you go through the standard platform tasks of jumping over gaps and between platforms.  Occasional enemies in the form of robots or alien pirates will bar your way, but they are easily dispatched with Jimís punch or kick attacks.  Accompanying Jim is his pet Morph, who makes himself useful by flying to grab nearby coins and by transforming himself into various tools at special morphing stations.  These stations can turn Morph into a pair of super strong cybernetic arms, a jetpack, and a hand to flip switches, among other things, each of which invariably figure into the gameís challenges.

The gameís platform levels are pretty standard fare, filled with jumps and coins to collect.  Although the levels are set in locations from the film, the challenges are all pretty arbitrary and don't really have anything to do with the story.  Every level will include a challenge to collect 100 coins and another to collect 10 green energy orbs, the only point of which is to gain a beacon.  There are also invariably challenges which require you to complete a sequence of jumps, so you make the jumps, collect your beacon, and move on.  There's not really any other reward or motivation for completing the challenges other than collecting beacons and the challenges on different levels are very similar in nature, so there's not really any feeling of connection to the story or immersion in the game's world.

It's not that completing the puzzles is not very challenging.  Sure the game might be primarily aimed at kids, but that's not an excuse to be lazy with a game's design.  Sly Cooper is an example of a game that is not particularly difficult to complete but that still provides great characters and atmosphere, two things entirely missing from Treasure Planet.  Even the graphics are at fault here.  The levels feature plain textures and lack detail, and the backgrounds are about as simple as possible.  Space-based levels include monochromatic skies completely devoid of features.  The cutscenes shown between levels are taken straight from movie footage, and the quality of the Disney animation in there scenes only underscores the lack of character and detail in the game's graphics.