Nintendo DS Review: Avatar the Game

Nintendo DS Review: Avatar the Game
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(3 out of 5)

James Cameron’s Avatar revolutionized futuristic Sci-fi movies with spectacular visuals and a riveting story. Its three video game adaptations, especially Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3, received rave reviews for their impressive graphics and controls. However, the storyline and frame rate problems marred the gameplay.

The Nintendo DS adaptation of James Cameron’s Avatar cannot be termed ‘revolutionary’ in any angle. The top-down graphics reminds us of old-school Zelda DS games. Gameplay mainly consists of boss battles and puzzles. But average puzzle-solving and combat elements might disappoint gamers.

Gameplay (3 out of 5)

Avatar: The Game puts you into the shows of Nok, a young member of the Na’vi tribe on planet Pandora. Nok has to fight “Sky People” (RDA), who look to colonize the planet to mine the Unobtanium metal. However, the human colonists have disguised their members as the people of Na’vi tribe by using human-Na’vi genetic hybrid called “avatars”.

The fact that players can only play as a blue-skinned alien and not as an RDA member is disappointing. The big console titles allow you to play both as Na’vi or RDA to enhance the play value. Sadly, you will have to settle with just one perspective in Avatar: The Game for Nintendo DS.

The game is quite lengthy with loads of explorations and twists not seen in the movie. You will have to explore various continents of Pandora acquiring items, weapons and key information that have to be passed on to the Na’vi deity. Each item found helps you further explore untouched areas and fight bosses. Combat is fairly easy as you will have to use the stylus to touch an enemy to initiate attacks, which is so similar to Zelda type of games.

Avatar: The Game is controlled by a stylus, everything from combat to item selection to moving your character. But sometimes the control setup becomes frustrating, especially when selecting an item. There are few occasions where you will have to tap on an item several times to use it on a particular object or place. Compared with the control setup of top down Zelda type of games, James Cameron’s Avatar for Nintendo DS is poor.

The puzzles in Avatar are poor. Puzzles form a main part in every NDS game, but Avatar: The Game has some time-consuming puzzles that get complicated over time. Combat with bosses are also lengthy and repetitive, except for a few occasions, which require you to use weapons strategically.

Graphics and Sound (3 out of 5)

Presentation-wise, Avatar: The Game fares pretty well in the DS platform even with top-down visuals. The graphics look pleasing and attractive and depict the fictional planet of Pandora exceptionally well. The exotic continents artwork and alien creatures are excellent and remind you of DS Zelda games.

The game does not have any dialogues during any cut-scene. They are replaced with speech bubbles. The sound-effects are excellent, but there’s nothing innovative or unique with the music, which has a plain tribal-like feel.


It has been noticed that video games based on movies rarely succeed and Avatar: The Game is the latest addition to movie video game adaptation flops. With tedious puzzles and repetitive boss battles, James Cameron’s Avatar will not please Nintendo DS owners at all.