This reboot of Ratchet & Clank is a humorous, family-friendly romp that is fun for gamers of all ages.
It is not only a treat for fans of the original game, which debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2002, but also a good introduction to the franchise for a whole new generation.
This is the video game companion to the Ratchet & Clank movie, which was released last month. Both game and movie take a crack at the duo's origin story, and their quest to become unlikely heroes while saving the planet from an enemy alien race called Blarg.
While the 3-D platformer is simple enough to play through, developer Insomniac Games has enriched the experience with a wide variety of gameplay scenarios and bold, snazzy graphics.
Instead of a strictly linear storyline, players can choose from a set of missions, some optional and some part of the main story.
Aside from the usual rescue-and-retrieval type missions, there are aerial dogfights, hoverboarding races and boss fights to complete.
PRICE: Price: $52.40 (PlayStation 4 exclusive)
GENRE: 3-D Platformer
Each mission usually takes less than half an hour to finish, so the pace of the game is reasonably swift.
Despite the diversity of gameplay, Ratchet & Clank is still very accessible for the newbie player, which makes it perfect for children or families who are playing through it together.
Each mission has clear instructions, with an easy-to-follow minimap that pops up when the trackpad is pressed.
Combat is forgiving. When shooting, the targeting reticule is large, and turns red when locked on target. Melee combat is also straightforward, with Ratchet's wrench clearing swathes of enemies with a single swipe.
Even my mother, a first-timer at console games, found herself enjoying the more simple stages.
It also helps that both the weapons and the levelling systems are intuitive. Weapons can be bought with Bolts, the currency that you get from destroying enemies or environmental items. They are also automatically upgraded with use, or if players spend another in-game currency, Raritanium, to upgrade them manually.
Levelling is also painless, as each time you level up, you do not have to bother with messy skill trees or selecting attributes to improve. Rather, you simply gain more health.
On those grounds alone, Ratchet & Clank is already an enjoyable game. But what really ties it together is its sense of humour.
The game is acutely meta-aware, and makes cheeky references to itself within the game.
At the beginning of the game, a prisoner, Shiv Helix, approaches Captain Qwark in jail.
"I'm a huge fan," he gushes. "I even pre-ordered the new Ratchet & Clank holo-game."
When the Captain is confused, Shiv produces an e-mail confirming his pre-order.
The Captain, hearing of this for the first time, booms: "They're making a game based on a holo-film based on my life?"
The game's anonymous narrator also has a personality of its own. When I took too long to find a ranged weapon called a Combustor, the voiceover cut in. "I said, a Combustor!" it chided.
With such entertaining dialogue and the overall polished simplicity of the game, this remake of Ratchet & Clank is a must-play for all fans of not just the original series, but 3-D platformers in general.
•Verdict: A successful, modern reboot of one of the most-loved platformer franchises in PlayStation history.