Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Players: One - Two
Platform: Xbox 360/Kinect
Launch Date: 21st October 2011
Many gamers are aware of the curse that clings onto the life of any game that goes along the lines of a movie tie-in. Many games have tried to be a little different to their movie counterpart and because of this many have failed and found their way to a bargain bin near you rather quickly.
Now bring Ubisoft into the mix and add in the fact that they had the right to develop the game version of the latest hit movie TinTin: Secret of the Unicorn, and with the license they have gone away and created what they think will help break the mould on the movie to game crossovers. So I guess the question that is left is this: is this game really worth buying or should it stay on the shelf at your local game outlet?
Does this game really contain the secret of the bad movie tie-ins? Read on and we will tell all in our full on review.
Game play - 8/10
Being a game that is aimed at everybody in the family, from adults to children even to grandparents who will remember TinTin from all of those years ago anybody can easily jump in and pick up a controller and get involved in this game.
This is down to how simple but effective Ubisoft have managed to make the controls, the games core mechanics stem back to the old school platformers from yesteryear brining back two dimensional level design whilst adding in sections of the game that let you partially walk around semi open world levels and interact with various elements of the level.
Donít get excited all too quickly though as because previously stated around ninety percent of the game is rooted in two dimensional levels making the game feel like Prince of Persia in a sense. For a game like this though the way the levels have been designed actually work really well and you will often find that the platforming elements are pretty great in quality, with how short some of the levels are though you wonít find yourself getting lost very easily and most of the game is self explanatory.
Obviously with a platforming game of this nature, there isnít much you can say about how the games core mechanics work because quite simply put there isnít much to delve into, with that said though the game does pack in different sections of gameplay and they work pretty well.
When playing the game sometimes you will come up against sections where you have to take part in sword fights and how you play this type of mini game if you will, is that you have to move the left analogue stick around to swing your sword in the direction you want to attack if youíre using the controller, if youíre using Kinect then you just swing your arm in the direction in which you want to attack from, it is obvious that the sword fighting segments were made entirely for Kinect though as the way the simple design of the activity is set out is that you can only progress when you have killed all the enemies around you, itís an on rails experience if you will.
TinTin decided that the best course of action was to take a break and look around the local market
Itís not just all about attacking though you will often come across some enemies that will parry your attacks and the only way you can damage them is to parry their attacks and then attack them once their defence is down. This is done on the controller by pressing A whilst moving your analogue stick in the direction in which you think they will attack you from, if you guessed correctly then you will parry the attack and be able to attack yourself, but if you got it wrong you your block will do nothing and you will take damage yourself meaning you will have to try again. On Kinect this works in the same way you just need to position your arm where you think you will get attacked from and then swing in the motion you want to attack when you have the chance to.
There are a few racing segments in the game also, I say racing but they are more like get from point A to point B without dying, these events come in two types you will either have to drive the sidecar yourself from a destination to where you need to be to finish that segment or you will need to sit in the sidecar and shoot oncoming enemies with your trusted catapult. Whilst the racing is self explanatory you just hold A to accelerate and keep going until you get to the end, the shooting mechanic is a tad trickier to get adjusted to.
Again just like the sword fighting looking like it was made specifically for Kinect, the shooting on the sidecar also feels the same way, and this is mainly down to how you move the reticule around the screen and the sheer size of it also. Using a controller the reticule moves rather slowly and with the reticule taking up a good chunk of the screen it becomes even more apparent that this was made to be moved with your hands using Kinect. Once an enemy is in the center of the reticule though you can fire away and you will instantly take them out if they are on bikes. Other enemy types such as vans and helicopters will take a few more shots but if youíre a crack shot then these wonít prove to be much of a problem.
Just like the sidecar races though Ubisoft have included in small sections which normally involve you taking control of a bi-plane and when using the plane you will take part in various tasks such as shooting down enemies or just navigating your way through collapsing levels and avoiding obstacles that may come into your path, the last variant is one that you wonít see much of unless you do the challenges and these are just circulating around an island taking snapshots.
With the plane sections being so few and far in-between I got the impression that these were tacked on just to add that little bit more variety to the game and to avoid people getting bored, and this is exactly what it does it helps spice up the game a little by adding in something else to do even if it is for the shortest time possible.
TinTin does come with three modes in which these are your standard Story mode in which the story tells the same story that you will find if you go to the cinema and watch the film. Unfortunately the story is rather dull and drab and very run of the mill stuff and from a persona like TinTin I expected a lot more story wise, this is the film makers fault though as they are the ones who came up with the script. The story is also very short and will clock in at around four hours long if you take your time to try and find everything, if you run through and do as much as you can do as quickly as possible then you will obviously complete the game a lot more quicker.
The second mode is called TinTin and Haddock mode, this is where the game could have been great if only had the development team thought about making the Co-op Xbox Live enabled instead of just local only. This felt like a missed opportunity in all fairness but it doesnít take away from what the mode offers to the player.
You will be met with taking on lots of dreamscape-esc levels in which most of the things you have learnt from playing the story will mean pretty much nothing in this mode. It does come across as the development team put a lot of thought and effort into this mode though seeing as this mode tries to make the player, play through multiple times in order to achieve all of the treasures that are hidden around each of the levels.
Whilst working your way through these levels you will be met with taking on various tasks and simple bosses also, where if you beat said boss you will unlock that person as a playable character in which you can then go through the story with and pick up their treasures that you may have missed up until this point of the game.
TinTin and Haddock is by far possibly the longest mode the game has to offer with most of the levels being quite long and each taking an average of five to six minutes to complete you will find yourself playing this mode for quite some time.
The last mode in the game is the challenge mode which is also called the Kinect mode as well, obviously with the mode being called challenge mode you should expect to go into this taking on lots of different challenges from parts of the game that the developers have put together to test your skill. For the most part the challenges are pretty simple and can be completed by anybody who enjoys the game enough to sit and play. But what makes this mode difficult is that you are graded on how well you perform whilst doing each of the challenges.
If you perform well you will get yourself anywhere from a gold to a platinum medal but if you perform under par and only just pass the level you will most likely find yourself earning a bronze for your troubles. A lot of the cut off points for some of the modes are quite high and to achieve them will mean you will need to be pretty good at each of the three different challenge areas the game lays out for you.
Kinect can prove to be a big help here seeing as most of the areas that the challenges are set out in are areas that were made specifically for Kinect in the first place, those are the sword fighting, plane and sidecar sections. If you do use Kinect you will find that you will be able to achieve higher scores because of the accurate way the Kinect scans your movements compared to the slow reactions of the controller.
It is important to note though that nowhere in the game does TinTin tell you that you need a Kinect for anything, all areas in the game itself can be played with a standard controller with Kinect being there for use if you so choose.
All in all for a platformer of this calibre even though the gameplay mechanics are fairly easy to learn and simple to get used to the development team have managed to create a game that will easily attract to anybody, and whether you decided to play with a Kinect or your standard controller you will have fun none the less.
This is not how TinTin wanted to spend his summer vacation
Graphics - 8/10
TinTin is a game that stays true to the art that was put into the film, the colour and detail that was used to create the film is easily transported over into the game and everything looks highly detailed and well animated with a huge support to making the game colour and vibrant.
The only downside to the environments themselves though is that with the game being primarily based in 2D anything up close looks amazing to look at, but if you look into the backgrounds there is no real attention to detail and it just looked as if the developers were like people wonít look that far out so letís not bother too much about it.
Itís a shame because with how great everything looks, to look out into the distance and just see everything is blurred it takes away from the awe inspiring world that the developers created for themselves.
The characters themselves are all well animated and look exactly like how they do in the film, from the view that the developers give to you, you would often be mistaken as to think you was playing out the film, its not until when the camera pans in on the characters faces that you may notice some smoothing issues around the faces or areas of the body but all in all the characters do look rather good.
One downfall to the graphics issue is that, instead of using the in game engine to provide cut-scenes it appears that the developers chose to record the cut-scenes then compress them and add them to the game, on my TV I could often see little blocks forming around certain areas of a cut scene that was highly detailed which shows that the video was compressed quite a lot.
With all of the different ways to play the game its good to note that nowhere in the game itself does anything feel out of place, the side car missions could of done with a little more variety in the scenery as when your driving around all you are witnessing is dirt, dirt and more dirt with the occasional boulder. But apart from that everything is well crafted and looks great.
Itís good to see that with each of the different game worlds that the developers have managed to produce, each one has its own little flair and looks different from the others, granted with the game being a platformer donít expect oodles of different scenarios or varying levels of game design because this isnít what the game is about. What the graphics are about is capturing the world of TinTin in the period that its set in.
When big scary men are chasing after you, best bet is to head towards the warning sign obviously
Sound - 5/10
Sound in TinTin is rather hit and miss to be precise, whilst sometimes the voice work may sound stellar and spot on at other times it will often irritate you and become a grind on the ears. TinTin is supposed to come from Brussels but yet he has a strangely English accent granted this isnít the fault of Ubisofts this is the same voice actor from the film but it still doesnít quite fit the overall tone and seems odd.
Captain Haddock also sounds like a bad rip off of Billy Connelly most of the time and his voice will often grate on you very quickly, sometimes some of the lines that are given to the voice actor sound forced or mumbled which isnít all that great either.
The rest of the voice cast isnít anything spectacular most will come with very small roles in the game that you will hardly pay any attention to as the game progresses onwards, but each character in the game is voiced by their film counterpart so any problems that you may have with how things are said in the game should be taken up with the movie studio instead of the team who made the game.
The plus side for the sound aspect of the game is the background music, everything seems to have been crafted so perfectly and each soundtrack seems to fit the overall theme of that chapter rather well, add in the sound effects of TinTin running, climbing or anything else that goes on in the game and this helps make the sound aspect of the game all that more tolerable.
Itís such a shame because when you compare the sound department to the rest of the games main functions it really looks like the ball got dropped the most in that area so to speak, more could have been done. What is on offer isnít described as bad so to speak but this could of easily have been improved easily with more time and effort.
In the past parrots could lift young boys for miles on end, true fact...
Difficulty - 7/10
It is obvious that TinTin has been made for all age ranges, given the way the latest movie and game were designed and the fact that it was chosen to be an animated flick instead of real life only helps solidify that. With that said though the difficulty also reflects this rather well, the single player story is pretty short and can be easily beaten in less than four hours if you donít take your time to explore the relatively small levels that the game has.
With very little challenge or reason to come back to the single player then most gamers will quickly move onto one of the other two modes, TinTin and Haddock mode provides some challenge with how the levels were set out and designed. With the developers wanting the player to play through multiple times to get all of the collectibles this can easily provide some type of challenge. Again though the level design and with hardly anything to get in your way to challenge you this will be quite easy up until you get to the final few levels where the difficulty starts to ramp up a little.
By far the hardest part of the game though is the challenge mini games and this is only because of some of the targets that must be beaten to achieve high scores and platinum medals on them. Most gamers will spend a lot of time replaying the same challenge over and over again until they get the highest medal possible.
With the simple nature of how the game plays out, you should not expect the game to provide much of a challenge but just because itís not overly hard to complete doesnít mean the game isnít fun to play through still.
Watch out below..
Achievements - 5/10
Achievements for some gamers can be the sole reason on whether they purchase a game or not based on how easy or hard they are to obtain, some gamers like the challenge of achievements and some like to earn as many as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. TinTin manages to mix both of these factors together almost seamlessly, this is down to the fact that most achievements will take quite awhile to obtain and the fact the game doesnít chuck achievements out at free will.
The achievements are neither hard or easy they manage to doable by any type of gamer it just all boils down to how much time you want to spend trying to get them. There are very few achievements that are tied to the single player story with getting an achievement at the end of each of the four different chapters that the game has plus a few other oddball ones for progress through certain chapters or even progressing to one of the many cumulative achievements that the game has.
Quite a lot of achievements and gamerscore will be gained through the TinTin and Haddock mode; this is mainly down to how long this mode can be for some gamers add in the multiple playthroughs that you will need to go through in order to achieve everything. Again achievements will be handed out for progression and unlocking certain characters, then you have achievements for finding everything and unlocking thirty different suits for your characters.
Just like the difficulty section, the challenges section of the game will no doubt prove to be a challenge for gamers as whilst the game does award achievements for doing various tasks whilst in the challenge mode one of the achievements is gained for getting platinum medals on all challenges. As I previously described doing this can be really tough and will most likely take a lot of time to achieve but with all of the other achievements everything is easily possible and wonít take much effort.
Even though the list is effectively quite easy and will take some time to work your way through I feel like more could of be done to make the list better, there is too much in the way of progressing in different modes and achieving high scores. More emphasis could have been placed on other tasks that the game as to offer such as for example getting through x chapter in a certain time. Ubisoft have created some great lists in the past but this fails short of becoming something both fun and enjoyable but also long lasting.
TinTin is a great little game that does come with a few flaws and the length of the main story will ultimately put some people off playing this title until it drops in price. What the team who created this game have managed to do though is take everything that is in the film and recreate it so wonderfully and true to the film that this really is a must for all TinTin fans.
Itís a fun game that can be enjoyed by all of the family and the graphics will no doubt please everybody as they look almost on par with that of the films animation, just everything about the game works well together. With more time this could have been a longer game quite easily and take off the challenge mode which felt tacked on then even better.
Hopefully Ubisoft will release some sort of patch that will allow co-op over Xbox Live in the future as this is where the game is really lacking and it would have worked really well instead of being local only. Kinect integration worked really well also even if its functions are limited it was still good to see that it wasnít forced onto the player whether you wanted it or not.