Ratchet is so money… maybe too much money, actually.

The fundamentals that make up a good Ratchet & Clank game are all present: from the whacked-out weapons, intense action sequences, gravity-defying platforming, and head scratching puzzles to the slick dialogue, charming story, and subtly perverse game title. At face value, these features would seem like a recipe for success; however, after two hours of playtime, Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty is more of an appetizer than a full course meal.

The aforementioned Ratchet & Clank gameplay staples are present, but each one of them feels stunted due to the game’s underwhelmingly short game time. The abrupt nature of this game robs the coolest features of previous Ratchet & Clanks, like upgradeable weapons for example, of their purpose. With an insignificant change in damage dealt, there is no real reason for a player to invest the time it takes to max out their weapons.

Compared to other Ratchet & Clank games, there is only one location with legitimate puzzle solving for the player to figure out. Sadly, the puzzles are bland, and they follow the generic video game puzzle structure: a move-the-box-make-a-pattern puzzle, a solve-the-riddle puzzle, and a memorization-then-mimic puzzle. Those three puzzles would not stand out as much as they do if it wasn’t for the fact that these are the only three legitimate puzzles the game offers. That’s right — there are only three of them.

The rest of Quest for Booty leans toward the action/platforming of its predecessors. At times, the game has the player traverse rudimentary platforming segments, while other levels assault the player with wave after wave of enemy onslaught.

Graphically, the game is one of the best looking downloadable titles out currently and matches one to one with its retail counterpart, Tools of Destruction. This game showcases Insomniac’s grasp on the PS3 hardware in ways other developers should imitate. I wish there were more colorful, daytime levels like the game’s Hoolafar Island, but beggars can’t be choosers.

And then as soon as it begins, it ends.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against short games, but I do get slightly agitated when short games don’t provide me with a fulfilling experience. The game is so streamlined that the player is funneled through each world with little or no choice as to how to tackle each challenge that presents itself.

This is not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, this is not a full-fledged retail game, but I expected something meatier coming from Insomniac.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty is a solid experience and a definite must buy for any fan of the series, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this game would have been served better coming a few months before the next retail Ratchet game, instead of a full year.

What does this score mean? Check out our review scoring breakdown.