Forgive me for going into this game with relatively low expectations; but as you know, games that are released to coincide with a film release are generally rushed resulting in a subpar experience. This trend has been starting to change a little recently though, in particular with the recent Transformers: Dark of the Moon game, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a perfect example of developers trying to release a much more competent title. Can I recommend it to the typical hardcore gamer? Not really. I can recommend it to those of you who have young children though.
It’s crazy season once again for game releases but the majority of the titles are carrying an 18 age rating. Tintin offers a solution to the parents who are conscious of what their children are playing, and if they loved the film then they will certainly get into this fun, little game.
First things first, this game is short. I managed to blast through it in a single session of four and a half hours. Saying that though I can say that I did enjoy the game and one thing I kept in mind the entire time I was playing was “how would a child respond to this game”. With that thought in mind, one thing this game absolutely nails is variation. 2D platforming levels account for the majority of the game, for me these stages were very reminiscent of the old school Prince of Persia in terms of level design and presentation and I will go into more detail in a moment. These levels are broken up nicely, as just as I was starting to get the feeling of monotony I would then be thrown into a plane where I would be dodging thunder and shooting down enemy planes. Or into a motorcycle with a sidecar which is occupied by Captain Haddock. I was particularly impressed with these sections as the game manages to mix it up on the fly. For example you start the level driving the motorcycle around twists and turns while also trying to avoid incoming attacks from bandits who just don’t want you to reach your destination. The whole time you are driving Captain Haddock is in the sidecar auto firing his slingshot at any enemies that you get close enough to. This is when the game switched things up and made me smile, Tintin and Haddock switched places. This effectively changed the level from a driving point to point affair into an on-rails shooter. Other levels in the game focus on sword fighting. These sections were clearly designed to be played with the Move and Kinect motions controls and work fine with either of them. The standard controller was a bit fiddly on a but not to the point of frustration, I would have personally preferred the swinging of the sword to have been mapped to a face button and not one of the sticks but I am really just nitpicking as it was still playable but if you have a Move controller I think you should play these levels with it. I really enjoyed these parts of the games as they were a nice change from the core 2D platform and puzzle mechanics that make up most of it.
Right, onto the 2D platforming, these levels mix puzzles and combat and the two even merge as the game progresses. I mentioned that the level design reminds me of old school Prince of Persia, I say this because in the sections where there are enemies on screen you are isolated to a fixed screen and have to use what is available to dispatch the enemies that are hunting you down. To begin with this is a very simple affair as enemies are unarmed and are easily beaten with a good old punch to the face but as the game goes on these enemies are equipped with items which force you to rely on your environment to get rid of them. Combat becomes a light puzzle in itself. Enemies with umbrellas you need to attack from behind either by sneaking up behind them, throwing a beach ball so it hits the chandelier that is conveniently placed directly above them, or even by throwing the ball at the wall behind them so that it bounces back and hits them from behind. One particular method I found greatly amusing later on in the game was when the enemies are wearing full plate armour, simply drop a banana peel in front of them and watch them slip and go flying into the wall which somehow manages to make them lose all their armour leaving them open to basic melee attacks.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, this game is very short, although this could be extended with the co-op element which is separate from the main game. In fact the cooperative mode, which can also be played solo, sports a nice variety of platforming challenges to collect costumes and additional characters to use. It does get repetitive but it’s a great addition to bolster the replay after the campaign is done. There is also a separate mode that consists of the bike driving, plane flying and sword fighting sections of the campaign set to several different difficulty levels with medal for hitting certain scores. It’s a great set of mini games for the motion controls and still decent enough without them. The campaign was also very easy. This was especially noticeable in the 2D platforming levels. The level design and enemy placement would get trickier but this was also the part of the game where there seemed to be health kits all over the place, an item that seemed quite scarce in the earlier, easier levels. The plane also felt incredibly slow when flying it, I found myself using the boost as often as possible just to speed things up a bit.
Indeed it is a simple game to play but this makes it a perfect fit for younger players. The charming and competent voice acting drives the plot effectively whilst the presentation is a mixed bag overall, with some bland textures and artificial vegetation, but does a good job of copying the aesthetic of the film.
In conclusion I think that this Is a competent movie tie-in and the focus on 2D platforming was a nice change in itself as there aren’t that many available these days. I still can’t recommend it to the seasoned gamer; you will just blast through this far too easily. This is most definitely one for the kids, especially if you are looking for a game to help them get into gaming. It has enough variation to keep them interested and the length won’t bother them as much as it would me or you as they will more than likely play it multiple times. Overall I enjoyed myself and hope this game doesn’t get buried in the ridiculous amount of games that are coming out this season.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Platform: PS3/ Xbox 360/ Wii/ PC Release Date: 14/10/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.