A few sections fall flat - most notably a mid-game boss fight with Cap'n Slag's new ship, which manages to concentrate respawning enemies, a turret gun section with difficult-to-spot projectile threats and bad checkpointing into one five-minute sequence - but in general Insomniac's skill at disguising linearity with hidden treats and crisscrossing pathways shields you from boredom or inevitability.
Visually too it's very fetching, matching Tools of Destruction for bright, massive environments and a solid frame-rate, and managing a few sexy new effects like the wind-swept ocean background to the levels on or around the pirate fleet.
That said, it's with some displeasure that we have to report that around half the game is dark and dingy! This isn't entirely shocking, since we're chasing pirates into treasure caves and doing battle against choppy old seas in the background, but Hoolefar's the prettiest area mostly by dint of being outside in the sunshine. If the next Ratchet & Clank game, due out in "fall 2009" according to the end sequence, goes all Warrior Within, there will be trouble.
That isn't a long time to wait, considering Tools of Destruction came out last year, but when you're done with the end credits and booted back to the title screen, it may feel that way. As the game wraps up, Ratchet receives coordinates for a new planet, and we hoped in vain that meant somewhere new to visit, more bolts to collect and new platforms to jump on, because the game overall feels more like the opening act of a standard Ratchet & Clank. We were ready to switch off the console for the evening and pick it up again the next day, but we weren't ready for the end.
Apart from the length, the lack of new weapons is also disappointing. The wrench abilities are nice, but they're no substitute for a new Groovitron. Instead we get old favourites the Predator Launcher (allowing you to direct a few targeted rockets while dodging incoming fire), and the trusty old Combuster and Fusion Grenades, along with the Tornado Launcher, Shock Ravager, Nano-Swarmers and the Alpha Cannon, most of which are simply given to you, rendering all the bolt-collection largely moot. There's no Trophy support either - apparently the game was already complete when Sony patched in the PS3's new Achievement-esque reward system.
Which doesn't leave a lot to be enthusiastic about, as we can only mention the wrench abilities so many times. Quest for Booty is a solid, funny little platform game with good camerawork and controls so long established that their pristine execution scarcely warrants mention, but it feels so much like a regular Ratchet & Clank game that it's jarring to discover it ends so quickly, leaving us to damn it over and over again with faint praise. At GBP 9.99 it's probably worth it for a couple of evenings of entertainment, but for all the respawning swashbucklers and the catchy Pirates of the Caribbean style theme tune, it could really do with another significant hook.
7 / 10
Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty is out now on PSN and will be released on Blu-ray on 12th September. It costs ten quid.