I recently had the opportunity to chat with Buena Vista Games regarding their new DS title, Spectrobes. Slated for release in March, it will be an anime-style action rpg with creature-collecting and raising elements, as well as a variety of imaginative gameplay mechanics only possible on the DS.

Disney’s first original video game IP, Spectrobes has been built from the ground up on the DS hardware by the Jupiter Corporation of Japan, and makes use of all of the unique interactive features of the handheld.

The game’s story revolves around the main hero Rallen and supporting character Jeena. The two are junior Planetary Patrol officers who, when responding to a distress signal, learn of the mysterious, prehistoric Spectrobes. Once thought only a myth, these creatures possess special powers and hold the key to defeating the amoeba-like planetary devourers known as the Krawl — threats to the entire galaxy.

In the main adventure, the action is displayed on both screens in what one might call a "tallscreen" mode, combining both displays into one and expanding the viewable environment. Disney representatives claim that the "average user" will take roughly 15-20 hours "just to get through the story" without focusing too much on Spectrobe discovery and evolution and that the plot is strong and cohesive, tying together battling and collection nicely.

Discovering and collecting Spectrobes appears to be one of the most unique and engaging aspects of the game. Excavation involves the use of the touch screen to implement tools such as drills, brushes and blowers to unearth fossilized remains. The microphone is even incorporated, allowing the player to "blow away" dust and debris, as well as serving the primary role in the "awakening" process. Details on this were unavailable, but one can only imagine it involves some sort of voice-recognition functionality. There are to be over 50 unique Spectrobes in the game and "literally thousands of places to excavate."

After awakening, Spectrobes go through three phases of evolution, from Child to Adult to Evolved forms, and are fully customizeable. Stats, colors, and "parts" (which change appearance by way of form) are a few of the ways players will be able to personalize their Spectrobes. Child-stage Spectrobes have the special ability to search the area for items, parts, and fossils of new Spectrobes. Adults have particular strengths, such as speed, defense or attack. Evolved Spectrobes are presumably the bad-ass warriors of the bunch, and take some time to acquire in real time. That’s right, the evolution of Spectrobes involves the passing of time in the real world, similar to a game like Animal Crossing. Buena Vista representatives say that a player might put a Spectrobe in a room to grow, turn off their DS, and come back the next day, greeted by a fully-evolved creature, ready for battle.

Combat in the game will be action-oriented, as the player controls Rallen and any two Spectrobes in real-time. Commands can be given to utilize their different defining abilities, and specific combinations of Spectrobes create new options for bombarding Rallen’s foes. To further the battle experience, the game includes a local ad-hoc wifi system, where players can choose to either fight one on one, or in a 16-participant, round robin tournament, pitting two of their Spectrobes against those of their opponent. Here, another system makes itself evident in a rock-paper-scissors sort of way. Spectrobes are characterized as either Corona, Aurora or Flash, each of which is strong against one of the other types. This adds a layer of strategy when choosing combatants.

The game will also keep track of players’ battle stats, scores, Spectrobe choices, equipped items and the like, which can then be uploaded to the Spectrobe website in a Battle Profile allowing users to compare themselves with the rest of the community. Buena Vista also plans to support the online component of the game even further with downloadable items, Spectrobes, videos and other game content.

Content-delivery goes even further in what is one of the most unique uses of the DS touch screen to date. Bundled with the game will be a small set of holographic trading cards, each with a specific configuration of small holes. Players lay the cards over the touch screen and tap through the holes in a specific sequence in order to claim various in-game goodies. The use of these cards sounds like a fun step in interactivity, and the company encourages players to trade cards amongst themselves. There are no plans to sell these cards separately, nor are there plans for a standalone card game, movie or TV adaptation of the IP, although it was hinted that the Wii is a possibility.

Spectrobes is rated E for everyone, and Buena Vista — as well as GamerNode — feels that the title will offer "something really original" and will appeal to gamers of all ages.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.