Astro Boy is developed by Japanese company 'Treasure'. Treasure have an unparalled pedigree when it comes to quality 2D games. Such Treasure games as Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes and Ikaruga are respected by gamers across the globe as some the finest pure games ever created.
It seem surprising that the next legendary Treasure game should be an innocous licensed GBA game! Astro Boy GBA is a truly awesome Treasure game :)
Graphically it's stunning, with beautiful animated touches. Gameplay is perfect with an amazing feeling of weight behind Astro's punches and kicks for a game on a tiny screen. You can do lots of cool combos too using the flying kicks. There's also 2D shooter levels where Astro flys using his rocket-boots....and the bosses are simply superb, you need alot of skill to beat them but they are very satusfying to beat the snot out of once you have figured out their patterns.
As Astro Boy progresses through the levels you can power up certain elements like the power of his finger laser, his health bar or how many rocket-boosts he can do. This adds some strategy to the game as you can't complete Astro's abilities on your first run-through of the game.
There's also lots of characters to meet in the game that give you upgrades and some alternate routes you can take through the level on your second run through the game (once you have clocked it twice you can access the true final boss).
I can't say enough good things! Buy this game, support Treasure and realise that 2D gameplay is still the best ^^.
This gem is easily one of the year's best on the GBA Combining Challenge, Excitment and Strategy into one powerful game. Anyone can enjoy this game, fighting your way through treasure ridden levels to fight the dominating boss at the end. You'll be able to find a true challenge on the "Normal" or "Hard" modes -- even with the provided unlimited continues. Treasure has truly mastered the player's learning curve, offering just enough challenge without ever leading to frustration. Levels seemingly impossible on the first go round can effectively be mastered with time, causing for each payoff to be that much greater. Completing each level (and more importantly, each boss) feels like a true accomplishment.
As a fan of the more modern Astro Boy anime series (although not of the more recent film) I felt that this was a must-buy. Although it doesn't exactly follow the plot of the series, the usual characters make their appearance, however briefly, as well as a number of other characters from the author's other works. Most have very little relevance however and only have a brief description on the main menu after they've been discovered, and only appear once, essentially there only for those familiar with the author's work.
Without wanting to give too much of the plot away, it was engaging and interesting, but not exactly gripping. The changes in dialogue after the first playthrough as you try to unlock the real ending are sometimes amusing thanks to Astro's prior knowledge, as well as the changes this makes to the world and the gameplay. Tracking down and discovering the various hidden characters was challenging, but some were rather obscure and needed either a guide or pure luck to find, and other than granting Astro a power up they didn't greatly add to the gameplay.
As for the gameplay, it was nothing as revolutionary as Astro Boy himself. The most basic commands are punch and kick and jump, with the boosters increasing the jump distance and chances to dodge depending on how much they've been upgraded. The digi-beam fires a small laser across the screen, while the arm cannon fires a larger and much more powerful one and the machine gun scatters bullets across the screen and stuns enemies, but only after Astro's powered up a little.
Once you've got the hang of the controls however, it quickly becomes repetitive - a small bit of dialogue sets the scene, then enemies appear and Astro beats them up, travelling through several sections and discovering different characters along the way who may or may not have something interesting to say, before finally beating the boss by attacking their weak points. I realise I could have just described pretty much any video game there, but that's kind of the point - other than the setting, and a little gimmick at the end of the first playthrough that I don't want to spoil, there's very little to set this apart from the rest.
In the end, that's the game's main problem. It plays fine, but it does little to draw you in. I enjoyed it, but that's because I was already a fan of Astro, and even I can't say there's much replayability. A shame, as it could have been something really special, but in the end this game as more in line with the average robot going through the motions rather than the state-of-the-art Astro built with cutting-edge-technology. Essential for fans, but for anyone else I'd advise them to give it a miss unless they're looking for some casual fun. 6/10