TerRover comes to the Playstation 3 through the PSN and tries to find its place amongst the LittleBig Planet loving crowd. With a lovable robot face, exciting and fun environments you’d think TerRover up to the job of delivering up to its $15 price tag but as things would go, it isn’t.
You remember LBP, right? That cute sackboy thing where you could create your own levels, had funky physics, and all sorts of cool environments? It was a fun game that provided a great time. This is the kind of thing TerRover tries to achieve only with a mixture of Trials HD thrown in. If you aren’t familiar with the game, Trials had you on a dirt bike set on the path of a number of random obstacles that you had to manipulate yourself, by either spinning forward or pulling huge wheelies, over. The same physics apply here and it makes for an interesting way of getting around. You use your momentum to find ways either around, under, over or through the obstacles in your way to reach a “communications node” on the other side. However more often than not, the controls will get in your way. Instead of having the standard “X” to jump you use square and use “X” to change the direction you’re going. This can get pretty confusing and frustrating as the game relies on quick thinking and manipulation of your direction to stop yourself from being blown up.
With controls being enough to slightly frustrate you the level design on some levels will you screaming. A planet sporting lava and volcanoes, how appropriate, has you maneuvering through a series of lava tubes only to get you stuck. Really. This planet’s design had me trying to get through two smaller than should be openings for nearly a half hour. Were it not for my need to review the game I would have given up and regretted buying the thing. Eventually I made it through the ridiculous thing and moved on to the better designed levels that don’t have you getting stuck within the same screen. The level progression is curious one: as it has you complete each “level 1” of the planets you move up in the count. You can’t stick around on one world and finish it out but instead you have to move on every time you complete a level.
Throughout the game you can collect nuts and bolts to upgrade your chassis with interesting bits and bobs. From a laser gun to missiles to a magnet underbelly, these various upgrades will allow for reaching specific locations and items throughout the game. You can also go for timed challenges, which have you racing against the clock to beat your current level and earn rewards. Acing a level, not dying, also reaps rewards which can be redeemed for a new chassis. The multiplayer is couch-side, meaning players play in front of the same screen, and has three different modes: Racing, trial, and hardpoint. Racing is your standard “get through the course before your opponent”, trial is much of the same only separated into two levels, and hardpoint is a collection based game. Up to four players can play which can make foa rather exciting and fun night of challenges.
As noted before, the level designs are well made and very beautiful to look at. In crisp 720p everything looks superb. The soundtrack also complements the scenery with light tunes for snow levels and a slightly heavier feel to the lava planet. Your bot’s sound effects are also very clear and unique to the robot. Gears crunch on the ground, jump jets sound powerful, and collision is believable. No screen tearing was seen at all during the playthrough which is nice to see from a PSN title.
When all is said and done TerRover just doesn’t seem convincing enough to have a $15 price tag stuck on it. The levels are interesting and fun but the controls just don’t handle well enough to allow for real enjoyment of this colorful title. The multiplayer is a great feature, especially with couch-side multiplayer disappearing from larger titles, and makes up for the single player headache. TerRover looks and sounds beautiful and it’s a shame that it can’t fully complete the part in terms of actual gameplay. TerRover gets a “Don’t buy” from this reviewer.
TerRover was played via review code given to StuffWeLike.com.