This article was originally published at Aussie-Nintendo.com
Code Lyoko: The Quest for Infinity is the second video game released based on the mildly popular French cartoon series. The original arrived on the DS with the release of this Wii iteration coming soon after. Both games are essentially similar in basic gameplay, presentation and objectives so if you picked up the DS version you should already know what to expect. It is best to state right here that if you did not enjoy the cartoon series then you will almost certainly hate this game. The only appeal will come from fans of the show willing to ignore the many major shortcomings.
If you aren’t a fan and for some reason want to read further than this then check out the first few paragraphs of the DS review for some background to the show.
The Quest for Infinity begins much like the DS version with an instrumental of the cartoons intro music and video from the show. You are first dropped off in the school ground like the DS version, only this time you aren’t given any background to the shows characters or setting (the first major reason for non-fans to give it a miss). The DS version had a point-and-click adventure component for the school yard which was both tedious and confusing and this has been removed on Wii. Instead the school yard acts as your menu with options, goodies (unlockables) and the main game. Wii owners are able to jump straight into the game and voice work is also now included throughout. The on-rails levels from the DS game are back but in a new underwater format using the pointer function to steer the ship.
All the gameplay in Quest for Infinity is carried out in various parts of Lyoko. There are underwater sections for travelling between cloned Lyoko’s (which is something you will know from the cartoon or learn in the game). The main areas are desert, forest, volcano and there is also a level that just has a lot of blue. Most of these are similar to the DS levels and are unfortunately very similar in texture quality too. The basic mission of each level is almost always to shut down the tower causing trouble in Lyoko or parts of the real world. This is the basic format for the cartoon too but it would have been nice to have some variety in the game.
You control your character with both the remote and nunchuk. The analog stick moves your character, “A” is jump and the “B” trigger fires your weapon for everyone except Ulrich who has a sword that requires you to hold the button and flick the remote. There are also special moves that use the “C” button and differentiate between characters. Yumi requires the remote tilt to balance her on narrow platforms after pressing the “C” button and other characters have remote functionality employed in similar ways. “Z” is used for blocking and also for dashing and reflecting in conjunction with other buttons. Finally the D-pad is used for interchanging between the four characters. Some of this may sound very different to the DS interation but it is actually just emulating the same gameplay in a new and mostly less successful way.
There is a lot of platforming in Quest for Infinity and at first it is enjoyable as you change between combat and platforming on your way to the levels objective. The major problem is that this is all you do and it gets old incredibly fast. The levels are very bland and you will return to the same ones a few times. In addition to the repetitiveness is the poor camera which cannot be adjusted at all. The camera is automatic yet it almost never changes so any backtracking actually has you running backwards (sometimes blindly) through levels. Occasionally the camera will change suddenly as you enter a new section and you will have very little warning before you walk off the platform. The controls mostly work well despite this but there is little polish and no sign of a genuine attempt to implement them well.
Between each level there are plenty of cutscenes from the show but like most of the game these are mostly repetitions of the characters entering Lyoko or of Aelita entering a code to shutdown a tower. The voice acting is there and there are characters in the school yard with different things to say that will appeal only to fans (who I hope are the only ones still reading).
Even though the structure of the animated series offers immense potential to transate well into a video game, The Game Factory has now twice failed to deliver. Much of what fans will want is there but the absence of solid gameplay is the overriding flaw and the death sentence for most video games. The Wii version is certainly the worst despite removing terrible features from the DS game. Although there are enhancements to the graphics and some gameplay improvements it honestly looks and plays like a stretched version of the DS game. I never expected the game to be this bad which is a shame since my first impressions of the DS game were very positive. If you are a huge fan of Code Lyoko (like a Star Wars fan that buys anything Star Wars) then this game is for you and only you.