I had the pleasure of sitting in on a call about Buena Vista’s upcoming game Spectrobes. It’s being developed by Jupiter who you might recognize as the developer of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. In Spectrboes you play as the planetary patrol scout, Rallen, who is given the ability to excavate Spectrobes from the Earth. In Rallen’s world Spectrobes are like how we view dinosaurs. You know of them, but only in fossil form. Rallen is given a device that lets him revive the Spectrobes to fight against the crawl. There are fifty types of Spectrobes to find and they evolve into three different forms. Concept art shows the first form is usually a cute character for a Spectrobes’ youth state and it eventually becomes a hardcore fighter in its advanced form.
Yeah it sounds a lot like Pokemon with the whole monster training thing, but it’s actually quite different. Let’s start with the battle system. It’s more similar to Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner than it is to Pokemon’s turn based RPG system. Rallen gets to call two Spectrobes to his aid (similar to how Raidou has a demon partner). These Spectrobes can be called upon to fight and depending on their evolution they will have a different set of commands available. The battle system seems to be a big focus in Spectrobes, there is even a whole multiplayer tournament set up for the game. Up to sixteen people can play in a round robin system, which could make for good social gaming. Too bad you can’t actually play Spectrobes online. Players are limited to uploading high scores, downloading video clips and unlocking exclusive Spectrobes.
There’s also a whole excavation mini game that uses the touch screen. You blow away dust by blowing in the microphone and you “awaken” a Spectrobe with voice training. Probably the most unique feature in Spectrobes is that there are trading cards that unlock extra content in the game. These special translucent cards can be placed over the DS’ touch screen and they have holes that you poke with the stylus. Some cards are going to be packaged with the game and there are going to be ways to get other cards, although those weren’t discussed.
I played Spectrobes a while ago and tested out the battle system. It was pretty neat, but I imagine playing with other people is going to make the system a lot better. It’s the tournaments are really going to carry the game long after the 20 hours of story. There’s a social aspect to Spectrobes, dare I compare it to Pokemon, that rewards gamers for getting into the series. Plus it’s made by Jupiter, what have they ever done wrong? Right now Spectrobes is only on the DS, it’s not going to be a TV show, anime or movie yet, but there is a possibility that Spectrobes might appear on another system in the future. Maybe the Wii? A representative from BVG said, “Certainly Wii is a possibility, but who knows what is going to happen at the future?”