Just as the title suggests, Avatar: The Last Airbender for the PSP is a game featuring the characters and locations from Nickelodeon's popular cartoon show. In this hack-and-slash-style RPG, players lead a party of four heroes through multiple portions of the Avatar world, go on quests for the villagers met along the way, and use the experience and items gained from fighting soldiers and fulfilling quests to constantly upgrade the characters' skills and outfit them with new equipment. Overall, the design is solid and sufficiently varied. Anyone that's played similar games, such as Untold Legends, should feel right at home. Fans of the cartoon, meanwhile, will appreciate that the story, characters, and locations in the game ring true to the portrayals in the show.
In the world of Avatar, people known as benders have the ability to cast elemental magic. The world is split into four different nations, each based on the element the nation's inhabitants have mastery over: fire, water, earth, or air. For centuries, the four nations lived in peace. However, one day the Fire Nation began a campaign to conquer the other nations. According to legend, the only person strong enough to stop the Fire Nation is the Avatar, a superbeing with the ability to control all four elements. The game, like the show, follows the travails of Aang, the last airbender and supposed Avatar, on his quest to awaken his powers and bring an end to the war. Since Aang hasn't quite mastered the other elements yet, he enlists his friend, a fighter named Sokka, to tag along. Eventually, two other friends, a waterbender named Katara and an earthbender named Haru, also join Aang's cause. Together, the four heroes set out to visit the different villages in the land to gradually push back the Fire Nation forces and get Aang the training he needs.
Each of the game's seven chapters contains a village and a large surrounding area. Within that area, there are specific people and places that you need to visit in relation to the overall story, but you're free to tackle side quests and build your characters however you see fit along the way. The one catch is that you can only have two characters in your party at any given time, while the other two stay behind at the village. Occasionally, you have to put some thought into how the party is put together. While Sokka's strength is advantageous, for example, Katara's heal ability really comes in handy in areas that are packed with enemies. Of course, since this is a hack-and-slash-style game, you'll constantly encounter Fire Nation soldiers out in the wild that you can exchange fisticuffs with. Battles happen in real time, with you controlling one character and the CPU controlling the other. Generally speaking, the CPU does a good job of dodging and attacking with the hero under its care, leaving you free to concentrate on your own situation. Individual soldiers aren't very strong or fast, so it usually only takes a few punches to get rid of them. Multiple soldiers can gang up on you, though, and sometimes they'll call out for reinforcements. Combat is otherwise straightforward and mainly involves mashing buttons until all of the surrounding enemies are gone. While you may or may not find that whole process boring, the loot and experience that are left behind after each fight certainly justify the time spent exchanging blows.