If you've seen Scaler at your local video game store already then you have probably quickly dismissed it as being nothing more than a budget title aimed at kids. The game only costs $40 so it's rubbish right? Well you may be pleasantly surprised to know that the game is actually quite good. Yes you read that correctly, a title that costs a mere $40 is good and may actually be worth shelling out for if Platform games are your thing.
Scaler's story starts out with young Bobby Jenkins being interrogated by Captain Bootcamp. He gets zapped by an energy bolt, is transformed into our hero Scaler the Lizard and is transported into another world through a mysterious portal. The voice acting in the cut scenes is incredibly well done, however it is clear in these scenes that the target market for the game is children. The storyline, characters and annoying dialogue are plucked straight from a Saturday morning cartoon and can get awfully frustrating very quickly, for the adult gamer at least. However, just bear with it because the core of the Gameplay is in fact very good.
For a start, the controls are very easy to pick up. They are similar to any other 3d platformer from the past couple of years. You can jump around; use your tongue as a weapon and attack enemies with your claws. Controls are tight and you almost always feel in control of our little hero. At times the camera can be a problem when making jumps but in fairness this problems hampers nearly every 3d platformer. It isn't as bas as in some games but it can be a problem occasionally.
The games action comes thick and fast. You face enemies at every turn and the action is surprisingly fun if a little simplistic. The game has a faster pace than some platformers that require more exploring. Instead of wandering around admiring the pretty scenery, you will be bashing enemies with your claws and whipping them with your tongue. Yes I know the tongue thing sounds disgusting but it is a cool little weapon. Progressing in the game also allows you to transform into certain enemies allowing you to use their abilities to progress further through worlds. It is a neat little touch and allows the game world to be opened up progressively in a similar way to something like Metroid Prime, though not on nearly the same scale.
The game will probably last between ten and fifteen hours. It isn't absolutely massive but there are a lot of full price games out there that will last you less time than Scaler will. Once you have finished it though, as with a lot of platformers, you probably won't be going back for much more. There is some unlockable artwork but nothing to really keep the avid gamer plugging away for years at the game.
Graphics are incredibly good for a budget title. I have seen full priced games which don't look as good. The world designs remind me of the Rayman series, everything is bright and colourful. Character models are never too complicated but have a unique style that seems to blend together nicely; Scaler reminds me of one of my favourite characters ever, Sonic the Hedgehog. The bosses are suitably impressive and lighting effects are very nice for the Playstation 2. Just have a look at the screens on this page; I'm sure you will agree that they look very nice.
The environments are absolutely massive and when grinding along vines above levels, draw distance is never a problem as the whole level is in view below you. I expected the Playstation 2 to struggle with frame rate when displaying most of the level but there were never any problems and the frame rate seems to zip along at a brisk rate through the whole game.
As I mentioned earlier, the voice-overs are incredibly professionally done. While the storyline is a bit poor, it will keep younger gamers intrigued and away from their cartoons for a while. The music is also well done and adds to the atmosphere well. I doubt you will be rushing off to buy the soundtrack though.
Scaler only costs $40. It would have been an absolutely perfect Christmas present for someone. It could still be a perfect Birthday present for someone. The game isn't groundbreaking or breathtakingly huge. It is though a solid and enjoyable title that would be perfect for parents to play through with their children or the perfect title for a platform fan to have a go at after he finishes Jak 3 and Ratchet 3. What more do you want for FOURTY BUCKS!!