The QForce heroes strike back
Remember the QForce? Captain Qwark, in one of his smarter moments, first set up this plucky team of space heroes in Ratchet & Clank 3 on PlayStation 2. Originally, eight members were recruited into the force – including Ratchet and Clank themselves – to thwart the plans of the evil robotic genius, Dr Nefarious. Having achieved their aim, the QForce effectively disbanded... even if Captain Qwark still likes to think of himself as the team's irreplaceable leader.
Now, fully retired and totally bored, Qwark wants nothing more than a little bit of space adventure from time to time. What he gets, instead, is a full-on alien invasion led by a mystery super villain – and for reasons unknown, it's aimed squarely at himself. So: what do you do when three entire planets come under attack because someone, somewhere, wants to blast you to kingdom come? You call up Ratchet and Clank, of course, and resurrect the intergalactic QForce.
In this third-person platform adventure from Insomniac Games, it's your job to explore the battlefield, build an impenetrable base and wipe out your incoming enemies. It's fast, it's furious and above all – it's funny. What else would you expect from wise-cracking Ratchet and his little buddy Clank?
It's all in the deep-space detail
In true Ratchet & Clank fashion, this game is a real visual feast. From the futuristic control stations on the Starship Phoenix to the glowing plant life of the Polaris galaxy, every level is rich, vibrant and bursting with colour. Things get even more impressive in High Definition – and if you've got a stereoscopic 3D TV, then every exploding Grungoid will make for a truly eye-popping experience.
Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark look as sharp as ever, dressed up to the nines in their interstellar combat gear. The QForce's ever-present enemies are equal parts comedy and scariness, from huge Grungarian Brawlers to scuttling, stalk-eyed Anthropods. Your weapons and gizmos look great, too: the multi-coloured disco ball that shoots out of the Groovitron has never been more mesmerising.
The accompanying soundtrack is pretty epic and delivers excitement on a planet-sized scale. Composed by Michael Bross, the man responsible for the sound of Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One on PlayStation 3, the rousing musical score keeps the action pumping as you blast your way through anything and everything that stands in your path.
Defence is the best form of attack
Ratchet & Clank: QForce lets you play as Ratchet, Clank or Captain Qwark. Campaign Mode can be enjoyed offline as a single player or tackled with a friend as a co-op mission. The chief gameplay revolves around a tower defence scheme and you'll be sent into the battle zone more or less from the word go.
You'll need to explore vast alien landscapes to find weapon pods and hidden gadgets, then set up a network of defences to take out loads of enemies. Collect as many bolts as possible to widen your arsenal, investing in serious pieces of kit like Warmonger Turrets and Electro Barricades that will make short work of any cocky invaders.
Defend your base well to earn special medals and skill points, which can be exchanged later for weapon and armour upgrades. And speaking of weapons, as usual for a Ratchet & Clank production, you'll be completely spoilt for choice. Plasmabomb Launchers, Pyro Blasters, Sonic Eruptors and Thundersmacks – not to mention a load of tried-and-tested favourites like the Hoverboots, the Buzz Blades and the Doppelbanger. With so many devastating items on hand, you'll become a trigger-happy space hero in no time at all.
It's a race to build your base
Co-op multiplayer matches allow two players to team up together, either online via PlayStation Network or locally via split-screen gameplay. Competitive multiplayer mode lets up to four players clash online, challenging you to survive through three unique stages of battle.
During the Recon phase, it's a race against your opponents to see who can collect the most weapons and set up their defences first. In the Squad phase, you'll need to figure out your strategy: which resources will you employ and where will be the best place to position them? When the final Assault stage begins, it's a fight to the finish as you protect your base from harm and deal out as much damage as possible to your enemies.
Ratchet & Clank: QForce is available via Cross-Buy. If you purchase the game on PS3, you'll be able to download the PS Vita version at no additional cost. Both games feature Cross-Play, meaning you can enjoy multiplayer gaming between the two titles whenever you like.