Review: Robin Hood: The Return of Richard (WiiWare)

Another porting disaster

WiiWare has already seen a few ports of iPhone games, but this one in particular has to take the cake as the laziest of all.

A shooting gallery game based around the legend of Robin Hood, you must protect the people of Nottingham from the seemingly endless hordes of knights running around. As this is a Wii game we're talking about, this is obviously done by aiming using the Wii Remote's pointer and firing/reloading using the A and B buttons.

The first mistake is already made right here: firing and reloading come with absolutely zero satisfaction. When firing an arrow, you won't even see it flying into the distance, the only notifications that you've even shot it are an almost unhearable sound effect and one arrow disappearing from your quiver at the bottom-right of the screen. Once you've fired your eight arrows, you have to reload, but this is more cumbersome than anything – when you hit B you practically instantly have eight more arrows, so you don't even need to strategically time your reloads. Hitting enemies also has nearly zero effect as all of them let out the exact same weak grunt upon being hit, followed by immediately falling down and disappearing.

The enemies themselves look like opponents you'd find in an early 90s full motion video game, except even worse. We wonder how this managed to happen with the 20 years of new technology that has been developed since! They all have extremely limited frames of animation and will for the most part just run from one side of the level to the other.

A few fools who think they're clever might stop and try to attack you with their bow, but seeing as this is accompanied by them completely freezing on one single frame of animation before letting their (also invisible) arrow go and continuing to run it's quite easy to notice them before it's too late. You'll also encounter catapult operators and guys who pop up right in front of you, staring at you dumbfounded for five seconds before finally attacking. The guys running around in the distance with swords and torches never seem to attack you, so they could just be completely ignored.

Even if you do get hit it hardly matters; you've actually got a life bar and can take a number of hits before biting the dust. And since your life gets refilled at the start of every level, that's not likely to happen! The game's got twelve levels to beat (which is always done by surviving for three minutes), and although the amount of enemies does go up bit by bit they never become much of a threat. You'll rather quickly also get civilians you have to avoid shooting, but as there can seemingly only be three of these on screen at any time and hitting them only makes you lose a few points, this also hardly matters.

It's only in the final stage where the game mixes things up a little and throws a boss at you amidst the standard enemies, but as he can easily be defeated before even a third of the survival time is up, it hardly changes anything. Between every few levels and after the final one, you'll get a single static image with some text explaining the story thus far. This is the only way to infer any sort of information about what's going on, because if you want cutscenes or dialogue, you can forget it! After the conclusion, you're simply asked to enter your name on the high score table before being whisked back to the title screen.

That's all the game offers in terms of content. There's no extra game modes, which is somewhat understandable, but the developers did not even think to at least include a level select or an adjustable difficulty level.

As you can probably tell from the screenshots, the graphics in this are laughably bad. They were acceptable on the iPhone, but there's just no excuse for this version of the game – seemingly no attempts were made to improve them even a little. The backgrounds are all 2D and consist of multiple layers (meaning some stuff further back will go by faster as you're moving left and right) but they look like they were ripped straight from stock photos found with Google.

Most of the game's aspects are pretty weird, but the soundtrack is just completely ridiculous. Instead of medieval-sounding stuff, there's a small selection of really fast-paced, completely unfitting tunes that play on every single stage. They're actually surprisingly catchy, and we actually had to laugh at the absurdness of it being coupled with this game. We almost want to say the game is worth playing just to be as confused at the music as we were!


If some more work had gone into actually upgrading Robin Hood for WiiWare rather than practically porting the iPhone version over, it could've been a semi-decent shooting gallery title. As it stands, its only good point is the completely absurd music – the gameplay is utterly repetitive and will become very tiring very fast. Stick with one of the few other similar titles available!

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