Code Lyoko
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-08-03 Nintendo DS Action/Adventure E10 (Everyone 10+) The Game Factory / Taffy Entertainment

Need some help with the game? Check out this handy walkthrough, courtesy of The Game Factory!

Until our meeting with The Game Factory, I really had no idea that Code Lyoko, a cartoon TV show originating in France, was such a popular animated series, going on its fourth season already.

After learning a bit about the story, I can safely say the game follows the same plot. The story revolves around a group of students who split their time between school and the virtual world of Lyoko. This digital world is now being threatened by X.A.N.A, an evil program of sorts who not only wants to take over Lyoko, but also the real world, so it's up to the four friends to stop it. It's like The Matrix, for kids!

The gameplay can't be really classified into a single genre. Code Lyoko is very diverse and offers different styles that integrate well with one another. In the real world, you have a 2D adventure where you explore, find items and talk to people to learn more about the story. The action happens on the touch screen, while your top screen shows you the area map and where you need to be going by tapping the trigger buttons.

In the Lyoko world, gameplay switches to a 3D platformer. To navigate these stages you switch between characters as needed at the given checkpoints, since each has their own special ability.

Ulrich can attack with a sword and dash, Aelita can levitate but can't attack at all, Yumi fights with fans and can move objects with telekinesis, and Odd specializes in ranged attacks and climbing. Your characters abilities can also be improved by purchasing upgrades and combo attacks with the blue data bits that you find all over.

In some areas, you will be locked in between firewalls (red barriers) and will need to destroy all the enemies that appear before you can continue. Combat is simple enough, one button to attack, one to block, and another to do a special charge attack. Enemies will drop healing, energy and currency bits when defeated. You will also find moving platforms and switches in your way, and the level designs get more complex as you progress.

The goal of each of these stages is to reach a tower, and inside you must solve a puzzle to hack into it. This mini-game is fairly simple. You are given a grid and a series of pieces. You don't have to use all the pieces available, but fill the entire grid with simple touch and drag controls.

So we've covered adventure, platform and puzzle, but there is still another genre in the game: racing. A different type of racing though, since the objective is to survive and not arrive in first place. If you hit an obstacle, you are taken to the last checkpoint you passed and go on from there.

Graphically, the game looks good, from the 2D drawn backgrounds in soft colors to the colorful 3D environments and cutscenes in Lyoko. The sound effects are ok, and the music varies according to the stages, setting the mood for the different occasions.

The great thing about Code Lyoko is that none of the levels is too long that you end up getting tired of it. The different gameplay styles and ability to play as different characters with different abilities ensure the experience stays fresh throughout the adventure.

With plenty of different elements, Code Lyoko surely has enough to attract all sorts of gamers.

Special thanks to Damien Sarrazin and The Game Factory for providing a copy of this title.