29 November 2010

Return to Earth, released for the Wii, picks up where the DS game, Evacuation Earth, left off and, in storyline terms, is a very accomplished addition to the Doctor Who fold. That is hardly surprising however, given that it was penned by noted author of Doctor Who novels, Oli Smith.

While purists will refuse to acknowledge it as canon, it stands up well enough in its own right and moves the gameplay along well.

For those who didn’t play the prequel, a brief outline is useful, though not essential. Evacuation Earth saw The Doctor and Amy Pond ensuring, appropriately enough, that the Earth is evacuated in the wake of a Solar Storm. They end up on the SS Lucy Gray investigating both the origin of the Storm and an inconveniently vanished TARDIS.

The outing on the Wii picks up with the baton with the Lucy Gray abandoned, and the Cybermen looming – fans of the Daleks will have no choice but to pick up the DS game if they want to see them as the main opposition.

Where Return to Earth, and Wii Games in general, really stands out is the imaginative use of the controller, as it turns into an analogue of the sonic screwdriver, and makes a good job of recreating its functions, even more so if you can get your hands on the add on that literally turns your controller into a replica screwdriver.

And what an innovation it is. The sonic screwdriver is second only to the lightsabre in terms of science fiction items that the Wii remote appears to have been built for and the implementation hasn’t really let down the promise.

But really, the game doesn’t quite fulfil its promise and the narrative is confined to the interior of the spaceship - a little disappointing given the wealth of landscapes on offer within Doctor Who if a bit of imaginations is used.

If you want to try the game before you buy it you can rent it from www.lovefilm.com who are currently offering a free trial.

[Source: Doctor Who Online]

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Ray Bayly