Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Disney Interactive Studios
ESRB rating: Everyone
Release date: Available now
I haven’t seen the recent movie upon which The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is based. I come into this game only knowing that it’s probably loosely based on the famous animated segment from Fantasia. So, a cartoon short and a movie might make an interesting combination for an action game for the Nintendo DS.
Merlin, the most powerful sorcerer of his time, is killed by his arch enemy, Morgana. Before he dies, Merlin instructs his last remaining apprentice, Balthazar Blake, to find his heir. For the next thousand years, Blake searches for this heir, until one day he meets Dave Stutler, who is unaware of his gift. Then Horvath, an evil follower of Morgana, uses Dave’s dormant powers to escape from the Grimhold, a prison that keeps the sorceress’s minions locked away tight. Horvath then imprisons Blake and escapes to try and free others from the Grimhold. You take the role of Dave as you fight through Manhattan to stop his evil plans, with the help of the imprisoned Blake. Horvath uses his magic to summon objects, which have been turned into monsters, to try to stop Dave.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a 3D action game. In the story mode you navigate your character, Dave, through the environment using magic spells. These are used to attack monsters that stand in your way. There are six types, each with its own color. The spells are unlocked as you progress through the game. As you use each type of magic, you obtain an aura of that magic’s color. Monsters have their own colored auras, and you are immune to them if you have the same spell color selected. Throughout the environment you can find spell power-ups, allowing you to unleash a more powerful attack using that spell. Once you find three of the same type, you have to complete a minigame on the touch screen to activate it. The multiplayer mode is called “Pass the DS.” As the name suggests, the mode only requires one DS for up to four players. You take a turn, then you pass it along when your turn has ended. Multiplayer mode plays the same as the story mode, but it has four different styles, each with their own goals.
Sorcerer‘s look and feel is similar to another DS game, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. The environment looks great and has a good 3D feel to it. The controls are not as bad as most DS games that I have played in the past. I like that each spell has a unique style, which adds some flare to the game.
The major problem with Sorcerer is that it gets boring really fast. At first it seems like it would be a fun game to play, but it’s the same thing over and over again. It throws a certain colored monster at you. You switch to that spell. Then it throws a different colored monster at you. You then switch to that spell. Then it throws two different colored monsters at you. Then you switch between the two different spells. The story doesn’t do enough to make you want to keep playing. I was only able to play in short periods, but I dug deep and played enough of the game to realize boring repetition is all you get.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice relies too much on the movie to sell the game. A great looking environment and unique spells are no match for repetitive gameplay. The only way I see someone enjoying this game is if they are a die-hard fan of the movie and can’t get enough of it. Everyone else should stay as far away as possible.