Sometimes a game based on a movie or TV license will end up being a pleasant surprise. In fact, a rare few actually turn out better than most non-licensed games. Batman: The Brave And The Bold very much falls into this category.
It's a side-scrolling action platformer, but the whole game's been hand-drawn in the same colourful style as the Batman animated series. It's no surprise to learn that this comes from the same studio that brought us the beautiful A Boy And His Blob - the animation is absolutely fantastic.
Close For Comfort
It looks at its best when you pull off a special move by flicking the Nunchuk and Remote simultaneously as the action cuts to a terrific cartoon-quality close-up of your character winding up for their attack it's unleashed. It's not intrusive and it looks sensational.
What's more, these special attacks only happen once or twice in each of the game's lengthy levels and so every time you trigger one it feels like a treat, rather than a repetitive chore.
The audio's something of a treat too. The voice acting is mostly spot-on and there's a near-constant stream of dialogue running through each level. It's a clever way of keeping the plot going and providing in-game tutorials.
The script also highlights The Brave And The Bold's wry sense of humour as Batman and Robin come out with some nice one-liners, and some of the enemies dish out some witty smack talk in return. The cat museum early on in the game is hilarious: as you play through the level, a recorded tour guide spouts out a ridiculously fake history of cats while Robin gets more and more annoyed by the nonsense he's hearing.
Underneath the fancy presentation, The Brave And The Bold is a fairly basic action platformer. Run to the right, beat some people up, run to the right a bit more, beat some more people up. It's satisfying enough and the game's combo system allows for some improvisation, but there probably could have been a bit more room for evolution throughout the game. As it is, the things you'll be doing in the final few levels won't really be too different from what you were doing in the first couple.
As long as you're okay with things getting a little mindless, there's an awful lot here to enjoy. In particular, younger gamers will adore it as it really does feel like playing through a cartoon while older gamers will be impressed by its sheer technical ability, even if it doesn't offer much of a challenge. An impressive effort.
This is an edited version of a review that will appear in issue 61 of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis, screenshots and boxouts, buy the magazine when it goes on sale on 30 September.