Scaler PS2 Review
Scaler tells the story of a young boy, Bobby Johnson, who has the nickname Scaler. Bobby got more than he bargained for when he stumbled upon his next door neighbour’s evil plot to take over the world by stealing all the lizards and training them to become his mutant army. Bobby takes on his enemies by transforming into one of them. Yes, you transform into a lizard! As you’re probably saying to yourself already, this story is not going to win any awards for innovation, but it does lay the foundations for a very capable and surprisingly good little platformer.
It seems many companies have found a formula that produces a “kid friendly” platformer and for the past few years they have been churning out platformers of that ilk with no sign of stopping. Scaler doesn’t stray too far from said formula. It offers 15 levels to venture across, giving you opportunity to jump and double jump across different kinds of platforms whilst attacking the easy to kill enemies that litter the levels. After a while you will be opening doors with those oh-so-cool-and-cleverly-placed switches that are always close by. Then, after a little more time, you will have to collect a variety of items (this time it’s eggs and energy orbs) which can upgrade toy abilities. Finally, you’ll find a selection of bosses which, of course, get slightly harder to defeat the further you advance. As you see, Scaler does everything you would expect from a platformer.
Attacks are made in the game via your claw and your super long tongue. Both of these offer a selection of basic and advanced attacks. There is also a special electric attack which you have a limited supply of (gauged by a second bar underneath your health bar). Then there is the really cool addition of being able to camouflage yourself, which is a nice feature of the game. Finally, there is the addition of being able to shape-shift into five different kinds of enemy that you meet in the game. Changing into the enemy gives you a different set of attacks, each set depending on which enemy you choose to change into. In fact, one of the guys you change into can fly, adding an extra dimension to the game. But I have to say that the flying does seem a bit dull. All in all, some of the stuff Scaler tries it does right, and some of the stuff it tries it does wrong, and in the end it all adds up to Scaler being a slightly above average platformer.
In terms of graphics Scaler looks great considering it is a budget game. Each of the levels are of an adequate size and, dare I say it, some have a very epic feel to them. The polygon count is high on most objects, bosses look large and boss-like (they are no colossi but they’re big enough). The animation is also well done and nothing seems to move jerkily while playing. Some of the levels seem to have been inspired by other games the developers played while making their game; references to Klonoa 2 and Rayman can be seen while playing.
The game does have a few framerate problems if you pick up a lot of speed while running about. The game also sets you the task of sliding along vines at certain points throughout the game and these sections suffer a fair bit of slowdown, which is disappointing. The soundtrack is enjoyable but nothing memorable. Kids will love the voice acting but I have to admit I found it grating after I reached the second level, and wished it could be turned off.
While Scaler is nowhere near the best platformer that has been released in recent years, and does not bring new ideas to the genre, it is still a very fun game to play. When you couple this with the fact that it is a budget release and you can pick the game up for as little as £10 from some outlets, it is quite easy to recommend Scaler to anyone that is looking for a fun little game to pass time until the next big name release hits the shelves. However, the likes of Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Crash Bandicoot can all be picked up on the cheap now as well, and if you have not already played them, I would have to recommended those ahead of Scaler.