Disney is hitting home runs right now. It snapped up The Avengers, took over Star Wars and its animation team is giving Pixar a run for its money. Wreck-it Ralph is aimed squarely at gamers but is the same amount of love reaching Disney’s games as its films?
If you haven’t checked out the trailer for Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph film, go watch it now. It is a giant nostalgic love letter to old-school gaming with a cast that includes a bunch of classic gaming characters. Now, in true marketing fashion any new kids movie that comes out must have an accompanying game. That way kids can nag their parents incessantly as they wait for the films impending release.
Usually video game tie-ins (as see in the recently reviewed 007 Legends) are kind of crap. The catch 22 in Wreck-It Ralph’s case is phoning it in would be a huge mistake. The film is based on video games, and having the game based on a film based on a video game fail would lose all sorts of credibility.
As the theme is “old-school”, Wreck-it Ralph has chosen to give you not one but several classic games to play, all with a theme fitting the movie. Currently there are three types with a fourth on the way.
The first title is (of course) Ralph’s game from the film, Fix-It Felix, Jr. in which Ralph is destroying buildings for no reason at all, hurling bricks at the man trying to repair the damage caused. You play as Felix. Armed with a hammer you must fix the broken windows within a time limit while dodging a series of falling objects.
True to the era of gaming it emulates, its simplicity is deceiving. By the time you reach the second stage the game adds barriers to hinder your movement, bricks begin to smash windows, birds knock you off window sills and Ralph begins to speed up his routine. Fix-it Felix, Jr. really harnesses that great 8-bit addictiveness.
The second is Sugar Rush Sweet Climber, a clone of Doodle Jump. Using the tilt sensor you navigate from ledge to ledge collecting lollies. As you climb higher and higher your points increase as you desperately try to avoid falling to your sugary death.
Much like Doodle Jump before it, this is repetitive and tiring. Holding a device straight and tilting it left and right is uncomfortable for more than a few minutes at a time and no collection of pretty colours will change that. After three or four sessions I was over it entirely and moved on. It just isn’t that engaging.
The third title emulates classics the likes of Smash TV, a twins stick shooter. Players use one virtual control stick for movement and the other to aim their gun. With a top down view it is all about dodging bullets and killing baddies. Within five minutes you’ll have bugs coming at you from every direction as you fend them off chasing power ups such as flamethrowers, multi-shot booster and grenades. Quick thinking and quicker reflexes are all that stands between you and gooey destruction.
As a package Wreck-It Ralph is a steal, despite my personal dislike of Sugar Rush Sweet Climber. It offers some quick access arcade styled fun with three very different games at your disposal. The 99 cent price-tag which is super affordable and you can connect your Facebook account if you want to challenge your friends. Wreck-It Ralph is great way to kill time.