Into the Vault: Disney’s Bolt (Xbox 360)

While I have done one other Xbox 360 game for this feature, now that the Xbox 360 is most definitely a retro console with the Xbox Series X & S out in the wild even though they are pretty hard to find, Xbox 360 (and PS3 as well if I have that version) games will become more of a regular thing on here, especially since this generation is really the last one where we got more direct tie-ins to shows and films.

Moving on, Bolt I feel is one of a few really underrated gems in Disney’s vast animated film catalog. It just kind of came and went without much fanfare, and while you see movies like A Goofy Movie or Emperor’s New Groove that initially were not huge hits but have grown a pretty significant cult following Bolt is just kind of forgotten and it’s a shame because it’s a really fun and sweet movie that should be remembered pretty fondly.

While the basis of the movie would certainly be fine material for a tie-in game (dog gets lost, goes on crazy adventures trying to get back home), the game Disney’s Bolt based on the movie of the same name actually does get a little more creative and takes place in the show Bolt is the star of where he is a super-powered dog that helps his teenage owner Penny take down diabolical secret organizations. There’s a lot of potential in that idea but as you would expect for a movie tie-in of an animated film aimed at kids, it’s squandered pretty quickly.

Firstly, Disney’s Bolt is incredibly ugly. It’s never going to match the visuals of the movie sure, but the cutscenes look bad, the visuals on the levels honestly don’t look much better than a PlayStation 2 game (a stylized look could’ve added a lot here) and the animation is just very choppy all over the place. It’s functional, but definitely missing any charm or brightness or fun you’d want from something based on a Disney animated film.

The gameplay itself though isn’t too bad in concept. You basically split between Penny and Bolt, Penny doesn’t have superpowers but can use her gadgets to do things Bolt can’t and she has to be more stealthy but doesn’t feel useless.

There is no denying that Boly is more fun to use though, it’s just amusing, arguably downright hilarious to have this little dog bodyslamming evil agents left and right, like the inherent ridiculousness of it is actually pretty appealing and had the game really leaned into it this could’ve been an unexpected gem of a game.

Unfortunately where Disney’s Bolt falters is in the places you’d pretty much suspect where not only is it repetitive and the bosses just aren’t creative (literally 3 of the bosses are fighting a big helicopter and there are 5 bosses), but it’s also incredibly clear the game just was not tested very well for bugs and just rushed out to coincide with the film release. Aside from the graphical issues, you’ll have things like a boss battle that doesn’t trigger so you are just stuck on a screen and then have to start back at the previous checkpoint or even at the start of the level again and just hope the boss battle in fact does trigger this time.

So at the end of the day, Disney’s Bolt is pretty much what you’d expect out of a movie tie-in game (ugly, has some glitches, repetitive gameplay etc) but it’s more of shame because there’s certainly a germ of a good and fun idea for a game in here but with the movie Bolt being something that’s basically been forgotten in the annals of Disney history, it’s not like we’ll get some developer doing a good take on it any time soon if ever.

That’s all for today but I’m hoping to get one more post in this weekend so see ya real soon!



All about Disney games, past present and future. Mix of reviews, opinion pieces and anything else that fits here.

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Main Street Electrical Arcade

All about Disney games, past present and future. Mix of reviews, opinion pieces and anything else that fits here.