In a strange turn for me, I grabbed hold of a mate’s 3DS and plunged headfirst into Wreck-it Ralph on Nintendo’s handheld system, for the kids at SquareGo.
I sort of wish I hadn’t
Ah Pixar, how fond we are of you, the saviour of Disney, and the proof that CGI animated movies were ever more than just a fad. It only took about 20 years but finally it was clear that there would be a Pixar flick that paid homage to the other main use of Computer Graphics. Video Games.
Only it wasn’t a Pixar movie, it was a Disney release.
The history of film to game adaptations is a rocky one, and although children’s films tend to fare slightly better, the games of previous Disney films haven’t always set the world on fire. So at this stage you’d expect that finally with a game based around the entire history of arcade and early videogame culture, that there would be a similar plethora of ingenious ideas smattering throughout the experience in the same manner in which it did the movie. Right? Of course not.
Although in the movie, Wreck-it Ralph is a wonderfully devised universe, where video game characters clock out at the end of every day and live a life outside the gaming experience, the videogame of Wreck-it Ralph is as soulless and empty as the old 80s arcade titles that Ralph and his (work-a-day nemesis) Fix It Felix bleep and boop through. Instead this is set after the events which take place in the film, so it’s worth ensuring that any kids you might pick this up for have already seen it otherwise you’ll end up confusing them utterly.
The trouble with setting the game after the film is that it neecds a new story, so in this case Ralph has accidentally let loose the Cy-Bugs, and must clear through three worlds to set things right. And to an extent it’s an entertaining enough experience. The platyforming is uneventful but enjoyable without ever doing anything unexpected or over-complex. The problem is that it just doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, which considering the pedigree is fairly par for the course.
A further gripe about the This isn’t even a particularly well adapted game for a 3DS release, and although it works, the 3rd Dimension gimmick is never utilised in any way beyond the most basic backdrop distancing. Moreover the graphics are fairly uninspiring for a game that was based on a CGI cartoon about a videogame. The models are perfunctory while the backdrops are dull, bare and functional.
It’s hard to be hard on Wreck-it Ralph because it hasn’t actually done anything wrong, in fact it’s done what it evidently set out to accomplish, it’s a basic game which gets the job done. If your kids are clamouring for more of Ralph after seeing the movie and can’t be contented with toys, cereal, lunchboxes, posters, quilt-covers and pyjamas then you should pick them up a copy, but hold off, it’ll be cheaper in a month or two. Actually just make that a month.