The Adventures of TinTin: The Game Review
The movie is getting solid reviews and the box office take is impressive, but what about the video game? Developers have been producing some good-quality games based on films this generation; just look at High Moon Studios (Kung Fu Panda, Transformers: War for Cybertron). Well, although The Adventures Of TinTin: The Game has its moments, it doesn’t quite capture the splendid epic quality that dominates the big-screen adventure.
On the good side, it has plenty of charm and charisma, as it should. The visual presentation is both effective and atmospheric; the sharp colors and bold hues provide us with a fitting, attractive landscape. Character detailing isn’t overly amazing but the animations are pretty and fluid. Unfortunately, there is a significant downside: certain segments of the game, particularly the action-oriented scenes, aren’t as refined or accomplished. The contrast is actually quite striking.
Still, the targeted audience will probably enjoy the graphics, and the solid voice performances and sound effects help to cement a decent technical effort. The soundtrack is a definite highlight; in fact, there were a few times when the music alone kept me playing (yeah, that’s both good and bad news). I wish there weren’t any drawbacks to the audio – because it really is excellent in some spots – but it starts to feel monotonous and tired later in the game. It’s like they couldn’t keep it really fresh.
The industrious boy reporter embarks on a quest that takes him all over Europe, and his adventure involves plenty of different gameplay mechanics. Technically, it’s best described as an action/platformer with puzzle elements, but there are so many various sections, it’s difficult to pin it down and say, “yep, that describes the gameplay perfectly.” Let’s just say you’ll rarely do the same thing twice, and the multiple mechanics are inventive and creative, but they don’t always work well.
Here are the two biggest problems: first, it feels as if Ubisoft Montpelier tried to capture the essence of those beautifully choreographed scenes from extremely refined titles like Uncharted. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but the team just didn’t have the chops for it. Second, the pacing is all wrong. There are just too many parts that grow tedious and boring all too fast, and the segments that are supposed to be rousing and invigorating tend to fall flat. That all being said, there is some good here and we should acknowledge that.
The combat isn’t bad at all; TinTin can sneak up on enemies and knock them out, or he can unleash a few well-timed punches. You can switch between TinTin and another character (Snowy), which keeps us on our toes; Snowy can get into places TinTin can’t and as you might guess, they have to work together to solve problems. There’s a definite progression, as the foes become more difficult, the puzzles become more elaborate, and the platforming demands more in the way of timing and reaction. Plus, it’s great fun to use parts of the environment to your advantage.
Basically, the game certainly requires that you use your noggin from time to time; it’s not all about toppling goons. And there are certain elements that are done extremely well; some of the sequences play out very much like the movie, and should satisfy fans who enjoyed their theater-going experience. I liked the effort expended to keep the player involved and on the edge of his seat, but the awkward pacing sort of got in the way. Too many times I was forced to, as I like to call it, “wallow in tedium.”
The co-op aspect is a bonus, though, because this game is undoubtedly more entertaining when playing with a friend. My buddy for this particular test was a little less than enthusiastic, but even he couldn’t resist this game’s copious helping of charm and personality. There are multiple characters to unlock, too, which means you have plenty of incentive to keep playing. Combine this with a campaign that could last upwards of 10 hours, and you’ve got a decent package…provided you’re a big-time fan of the movie.
The Adventures of TinTin: The Game is a competent action platformer with an appealing persona and style. The music is fantastic, the voices are pleasant, and the diverse gameplay does manage to remain somewhat interesting throughout. Sadly, the pacing is off, too many of the segments don’t hit home, and the designers come up a little shy when shooting for the stars. If you can find it for a decent price in 2012 and you’ve got young fans of the movie around the house, it’s worth a look. But otherwise, there are better family-friendly efforts out there.
The Good: Pleasing, attractive visual palette. Great soundtrack. Some interesting gameplay mechanics. Co-op can be a lot of fun. Inventive and creative.
The Bad: Certain scenes don’t look as good as other set pieces. Pacing is off; tedium occasionally sets in. Control isn’t spot-on. Action sequences lack punch.
The Ugly: “…okay, this is starting to get boring and a tad irritating.”
12/27/2011 Ben Dutka