Sometimes, the only way to succeed is to work with others. In “Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One” and “Disney Universe,” success can certainly be a shared venture.
“Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One” monkeys considerably with the usual “Ratchet” formula, though it leaves the series’ penchant for flashy weaponry intact.
The game teams usual duo Ratchet and his robot buddy Clank with the none-too-bright superhero Galactic President Captain Qwark and frequent villain Doctor Nefarious. All four are kidnapped by a mysterious ship, and have to set their differences aside to escape.
As a cooperative adventure for up to four players, the game is more straightforward than other entries in the series to accommodate the need for keeping all the characters in the same place while they journey through each area.
The game can be played solo to no detriment, but it’s clearly meant for more — a second, computer-controlled character even pops out from time to time to participate in actions that normally couldn’t be done alone, such as swinging across gaps trapeze-style. The characters look very different but all play the same.
The combat and exploration are simplified compared to the series’ single-player outings — there are fewer gadgets and maneuvers to employ. Each player receives a vacuum-like tool that lets them suck up stray bolts (used as money) or launch each other around the levels, and all characters have access to all the weapons currently available in the game (new ones can be bought at special kiosks). Firing in tandem with other players increases their power, and in fact is the only way to damage certain enemies and obstacles.
It’s definitely an interesting experiment within the series, but “All 4 One” just isn’t quite the same animal as a more typical “Ratchet” adventure, for better or worse.
“Disney Universe” also allows four players to team up, in this case as explorers of a virtual world with areas that resemble several Disney films, including “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “WALL-E” and “The Lion King,” among others. The system has been taken over by a virus, and the players are trapped inside with hostile robots.
The game feels a lot like the “Lego Star Wars” games, and others in the “Lego” series — the levels are small and full of hidden items to find and objects to bust open for money, and the only consequence of defeat is the possible loss of a few coins. Players can also dress up their little characters in a variety of Disney-inspired costumes.
But unlike the “Lego” games, there’s no real difference between them aside from looks, no interesting powers that come from a “Tron” outfit compared to a “Lion King” one — though temporary power- ups can be found.
Each player can drag, carry and throw certain objects (often to solve light puzzles), hit things with their weapon, jump, pull levers — and that’s about it. There’s just not much to this game other than the Disney tie-in.