How often are games released that need to be patched immediately after release? The correct answer is, too many. Phoning Home takes it one step too far as it clearly needs to be taken back to the drawing board.
In Phoning Home you play as a robot named WALL-E ION who becomes stranded on a remote planet with no way of contacting his people and must now scavenge what resources he can to repair himself and his ship so he can phone home. As you hover along the terrain you discover different animals, resources to craft with, and beautiful landscapes that may or may not actually exist.
That main objective to contact homebase is something the overly helpful A.I. likes to tell you every five minutes. It’s like the developers were worried you would forget what it is you are supposed to be doing. I mean it’s a good thing that the title doesn't remind you that you need to establish communication with your point of origin otherwise that would go a little too far… And that is an example of the type of humour you get from your A.I. companion. I don’t know who wrote the script for the dialogue but it’s hard to tell if they were trying too hard or not hard enough to be funny and clever. The entirety of the A.I. and ION’s conversations were ION staying silent and listening to the A.I. talk about his lack of understanding about organic life.
Running a large open world game on my PC can be hard at the best of times. It’s not what you would call “up to date”. Normally I am able to turn down the graphic settings enough so the Frame rate doesn’t resemble a 1980s cartoon, while still getting the beautiful experience the game can provide. In the case of Phoning Home I found I didn’t have to turn my settings down too low at all. It ran fairly smooth for me on “high” settings and never once looked like it was struggling.
As I stated earlier the landscapes may or may not be there when you get to them. One of the many resources that were cluttering my navigation bar was atop a rocky hill, but rather than hovering up the hill I proceeded to hover right through it. I’m rather forgiving if there is an occasional terrain malfunction as they can be quite entertaining. What I can’t forgive is dozens upon dozens of rocky hills and towering trees that you can just phase through which is what Phoning Home provided.
The game’s U.I. could use a bit of work as well. To switch from your inventory to your mission objectives you have to exit out of the menu window using the same key to open the window in the first place, before you can open the next menu. This may seem trivial but when I had to deal with the plethora of problems I was faced with it made the little things that much harder to not get under my skin.
I want to keep going but I really don’t need to. With all the problems Phoning Home has the developers really need to rethink their design. They will probably fix it through a patch, but I have a better solution. If a game isn’t ready to be released, don’t release it!
Phoning Home (Reviewed on Windows)
The score reflects this is broken or unplayable at time of review.
The smooth textured environments do not make up for the game play issues and infuriating dialogue.