Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters


The best new product for Sony’s PSP is Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, developed by High Impact Games. While I haven’t played any Ratchet and Clank games up to this point, Size Matters seems to keep the same visual style and platforming controls as the previous games.

The parts of the game where you play as Ratchet have been the most fun for me. You start out exploring the beaches and islands of a resort planet, fighting your way back to your ship to rescue a young girl who’s been kidnapped.

The level design is an addictive blend of platform-based action and puzzles. The action portions of the game involve a lot of blowing stuff up or smashing bots to pieces with your large omnihammer. The puzzle element of the game usually involves Clank. In one early level, Clank must guide a squad of small gadgebots to a certain location—ensuring both their safety and his own.

Size Matters is generously seasoned with mini-games to change the pace of the game. One of the most common types is the hover board mini-game in which you have to outrace three other opponents, usually to win an item that will benefit you later in the game. After you win the first race, you can race again at a higher difficulty level to earn bolts, the currency of the game world.

One of the planets features a robot arena where Clank can compete in a series of games. Some are reminiscent of Lemmings and others oddly familiar to Big Bumpin’ of Burger King notoriety. While briefly engaging, I found the analog controls difficult to get used to on the PSP’s smaller frame. My unintentionally erratic movements often hampered me while completing these games. Of course, when you do win a mini-game, there’s typically a hefty stash of bolts as a reward.

Bolts can be spent at various locations on the different planets. For a small fee you can replenish your ammo, but save up enough bolts and you can buy a new weapon or upgrade an existing one. In fact, there are a good number of weapons and gadgets to choose from later on in the game. Add to that the various pieces of armor you find or earn and item management begins to become a concern. It’s not unmanageable, but it adds a depth to the game that I hadn’t anticipated.

I have to mention the graphics in this game because they were everything I could have wanted from the system. Size Matters was developed from the ground up to run on the PSP and it shows. The CGI cut scenes are especially impressive, showing no jaggy lines and always flowing smoothly. The lip-syncing and voice acting are spot on and add depth and veracity to the characters.

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters is a worthy addition to any PSP catalogue, with enough platforming challenge to keep your fingers twitching and enough quick-thinking puzzle elements to keep your synapses firing.