In a field as competitive as collectible toys targeted to pre-tweens, it is not surprising that many game reviewers have not heard of Gormiti. While not as well-known as Beyblade, Ben 10 or Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gormiti does come from an established Italian toy company, Giochi Preziosi. The toy’s elemental theme brings to mind both Captain Planet and Battle Beasts while its pint-sized figures are reminiscent of the M.U.S.C.L.E. toy line. Now we have the video game spin-off which, while derivative, does have an experienced studio behind it.
This game version of Gormiti features four kids who each can transform into one of four elemental lords with powers of earth, forest, sea and air. This obviously leaves out fire, which makes up the one evil lord, specifically named ‘Volcano’.
The character controls are very similar to the recently released Ys Seven, where the player manages a party, similar to an RPG but with the pace of an action game. The user gets to control one character at a time and rest follow him thanks to the game’s AI. As an action platformer, the game is loaded with obstacles suited to only one particular lord. For example, certain blocks are destructible, but only at the hands of the stereotypically strong earth lord. Speaking of using one’s fists, the game does have many beat-em-up opportunities mixed in with the left-to-right platforming.
If there is one thing that should make older gamers take notice, it is that the game studio behind Gormiti is U.K.-based Climax Group, whose most recent achievements include the well-received Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Rocket Knight. In addition, Climax also boasts a long history in dealing with licensed properties. That is not to presume that their experience would automatically make Gormiti a worthwhile purchase, but it is solid as kid-targeted properties go with the exception of the CG cutscenes, which look very low-budget. The game has enough collectible items to keep obsessive compulsive kids busy not to mention optional puzzles that can be unlocked after specific items are collected. Gormiti also supports drop-in co-op which is more often than not a plus.
(This review was based of playing the first 4 hours of the game’s story mode. A copy of the game was provided by Konami for review purposes.)
Developer: Climax Group
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS (although this review was specifically based on the Wii version)
Released: September 14, 2010