The galaxy’s most unusual superheroes are back in another frantic adventure, traversing solar systems in a bid to thwart the maniacal Dr Nefarious from gaining control of time itself, which is controlled by the Great Clock, located in the dead centre of the universe, give or take 50 feet.
Anyone who has spent even a short period of time with any of the previous games in the series, stretching back to the good old PS2, will be familiar with the cartoon mayhem and tongue-in-cheek humour on display. This is a world where weapons like the Hypersonic Brainwave Scrambler and the Dynamo of Doom are par for the course, where tiny floating robotic fairy-type creatures called Zoni control the most advanced technology in the universe and where you can stop even the most bloodthirsty creatures in their tracks by setting off your trusty Groovitron – an instant mirrorball which hypnotises all manner of beasties into forgetting about their quarry (you) and boogying like it’s, em, 1977.
At the end of the duo’s previous adventure, 2007’s Tools Of Destruction, Clank was kidnapped by the Zoni, leaving Ratchet to search the solar system for his robotic sidekick. It transpires that Clank is inside the Great Clock, where he has been earmarked as its new janitor, giving him control over time via time bombs, which slow things down in a small area, and time pads, whereby he can record his actions – extremely handy for pressing multiple switches at the same time to unlock new areas. Ratchet, meanwhile, discovers that he is not actually the last remaining lombax in the galaxy (but we don’t want to give too much away on that score), and he’s up to his usual tricks – flying from galaxy to galaxy, exploring, destroying evil beasties and performing all manner of acrobatics en route.
The graphics are big, bold and extremely colourful; the sound top notch; and the gameplay a fine mixture of exploration, platforming and combat – just like its predecessors. The only really new aspect of the gameplay is the free roaming nature of flying, as you control Ratchet’s ship, Athelion, around the various solar systems, with the ability to visit lots of satellites, moons and discourse with other ships, as well as taking on waves of enemy space vessels. That aside, it’s a case of business as usual (aside from the plot, which progresses both characters substantially), but when it comes to Ratchet & Clank, it really is a case of -if it ain’t broke…’