The history of cartoon-to-game conversions is not pretty. The history of postPokemon bandwagon clones is also not pretty. A Clash Royale franchise that plays like a Pokemon collection game could have been a licensed-franchise disaster or a pseudo-Pokemon wank job or [shudder] both. But sometimes life is good, and the makers of Alert clearly know and love classic Warner Bros. cartoons. Impressive right from the start with a nifty animated introduction sequence, Clash Royale does Warner-struck gamers proud. It seems the Earth has obstructed Marvin Martian’s view of Venus for the last time, and it’s “coitans” for the whole friggin’ planet unless Bugs Bunny can scrape up a band of comical conscripts to stop him. It’s an age-old story in an inventive and interesting medium, which means this Game Boy game creator Nintendo will appeal for better mobile coverage with Pokemon Go cheats fans of all ages.
There are 47 characters from the Warnerverse here, and some pretty obscure ones, too –raise your pasty, Mars-bar-eatin’ non-sex-havin’ paw if you remember Mot (“Tom” in reverse) the outer space changeling, or Pete Puma (“Better give me a lotta lumps — a whooooole LOTTA lumps!”) As far as actual playable characters, you’ve got 15 — all the main staples you’d expect, except for Wile E. Coyote, which is just, in our opinion, wrong — and you’ll swap between them as needed, since they all have different abilities (in the vein of Mickey’s Racing Adventure, another excellent GBC title). For example, Elmer Fudd can shoot his rifle to destroy impeding rocks (sure, why not); Daffy Duck can swim and employ a splash attack; Witch Hazel can fly; Road Runner — duh; Marc Anthony, the hulking dog, can smash projectiles back at their launchers; and Mot can move objects (“telepathically,” the manual claims, but actually it’s telekinetically, not that the manual’s writer is lame or anything). Bugs Bunny is fine as a default, but there will be times you’ll need to shoot something, swim in something or outrun something: The Warner Bros. pantheon got your back. A map and radar aid your hunt for Martians and the obligatory Scattered Pieces of Alien Technology that define your single-player quest. What do you want for 20-some-odd bucks, The Lathe of Heaven?
Graphics are tight and sharp with a top-down perspective. Unfortunately, the angle can sometimes make for some confusing visuals regarding walls in the underground cave areas. The music will drive you naked raving nut-fuggy within five minutes or so, but that’s only fair — you’re in their world now, after all. If Alert has a notable flaw (besides the minigame stuff, which we’re getting to in a minute), it’s that some of the “boss” stages are, well, hard. Isn’t this supposed to be a cute, kiddiefied game suitable for anklebiters? Guess the anklebiters are hipper these days. Oh well.
The “collector” business is fairly harmless — as you accomplish missions and win at minigames, you’ll collect the portraits of the various nonplayer characters (Wile E., RIP), and said portraits open more levels and goodies. Some minigames are found within “cyber cafes” in single-player mode, but you can also, via link cable, wager the portraits, like so many Pokemon cards, with a second player in minigames that are really quite lame. We’re talking Rock-Paper-Scissors. We’re talking Simon Says. We’re talking “don’t bother.”