Review: Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Voltron on PSN is a twin stick shooter best when played with friends. You control one of the 5 space explorer pilots and their robotic lions. Over 12 levels, you’ll fight the evil Drule forces led by King Zarkon, Prince Lotor, and the evil witch Haggar. Boy do their voice actors bring a nostalgic nail on the chalkboard to your ears. In between levels you are treated to a classic clip of the series usually with them and the Voltron Force. These set the loose story for the game.
Each of the 12 levels are set over 3 worlds. They’re rendered with a light cel-shaded filter that keeps the game looking close to its animated roots. Each lion has a different type of blasters, special attacks, and stats. For example, the black lion has a high melee attack, while the yellow lion has better armor piercing bullets. They also have a melee attack and a mid-air pounce attack that is damn rewarding when you use it to tackle floating turrets to the ground. While each lion’s stats are all different, they still all feel very similar to one another. When your lion takes too much damage, you go into survivor mode. Your pilot exits the lion equipped with a peashooter and has to defend themselves from oncoming bombardments for 10 seconds before they can reenter the lion. If you can manage to not end up like Sven for 10 seconds, you get to reassume the controls of your lion without losing a life. This survivor mini-game while easy sounding on paper often stopped me. Odd hit detection for your tiny character has you dying even if you did dodge incoming laser fire.
Throughout the levels are civilians to be freed and scattered star pieces that you can put together to make extra lives. It seems like the civilians are just there to make you comb the levels for a trophy after finding 100 of them. There are also two power-ups: a shield and an upgrade to your blasters. MEGATHRUSTERS ARE GO!! Unfortunately, these two power-ups are few and far between.
As simplistic as the Voltron soundtrack is, it still sounds of an epic. Amazing how after all these years those trumpets still has the ability to pump you up. Across planet Arus, Yadle, and then Doom, the levels follow similar structures. The second two worlds begin with outer space segments. They get crowded incredibly fast, especially with all 5 lions on screen at once. The rest of the levels have you running from checkpoint to checkpoint destroying anything that moves and sometimes escorting civilians to safety.
Each of the three worlds end in boss battles with a giant robeast. Sadly, these are only done with quicktime events. The whole reason I was stoked for this game was to destroy bad guys with the titular hero. Instead, the whole thing is reduced to a mini-game! I guess I’ll have to go find a copy of Dynasty Warriors Gundam to feed my lust for robot destruction. The only interesting portion to these QTE’s is that in multiplayer you must cooperate with your fellow pilots, taking turns who executes the main attack while the rest of the pilots power the attack up. It is a strange exercise in teamwork, but pretty hard to mess up.
Voltron’s multiplayer is either 2 player local or up to 5 player online. In the local setting you’re stuck to player ones screen, while in the online setting everyone can go wherever they please. One thing to remember, you share your lives with everyone, so if one person keeps dying, you might not get a second try. I suggest you jump online soon while the title is still fresh.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe is adequate in its use of license and execution of gameplay, but doesn’t exceed expectations. Pick it up if you’re on a nostalgia kick.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Classic soundtrack
- Old video clips
- Voltron will return after these messages
What I Dislike:
- Hit Detection feels off
- You never control Voltron