Article written by Blair Inglis.
Published on 28/10/2011 at 05:00 PM.
You’ll most likely know that Tintin is coming to the big screens in a motion capture blockbuster with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson on board. Well, as you’re probably aware, for most big films there’s a usually disappointing game tie-in, and Tintin is no different – though it’s not entirely disappointing.
You see, The Adventures of Tintin, at its core, is a delightfully simple 2.5D sidescrolling platformer. Yes, it might be too simple, but when it works it’s all rather fun. It’s obviously aimed at a younger audience though; it’s very easy and not at all coherent – some scenes are completely missing altogether, in fact, so when it tries to bridge the story together it completely and utterly fails, skipping past some details and showing up in another location entirely – perhaps I just fell asleep?
There are three modes in The Adventures of Tintin: one which follows the story of the film, another which features co-op play and is completely separate to the movie’s plot and a final mode consisting of many different mini-games and challenges. None of these modes are what you would call robust and each can be completed in a matter of hours; it makes me question why this was a full disc release rather than a downloadable game.
Platforming sections, like this, are fun.
The platforming is certainly varied enough, with many different mechanics – such as parrots you can grab onto and fly with, or sections which require a torch as it’s dark. It sometimes goes to the verge of repetition, though in comparison to the quite dreadful, repeating third person sections, it’s has enough different mechanics to keep you happy – you’ll even get to play as Tintin’s dog Snowy at some points which breaks it up even more.
So, then there’s the aforementioned third person parts. You’ll find Tintin walking about an area looking for clues, shooting from the sidecar of a motorcycle (which is enjoyable at first, but soon becomes dull) or flying his plane. I don’t know how they managed to make planes boring, but they unfortunately are. There’s also parts where Captain Haddock will reminisce about his ancestor – Sir Francis Haddock – and you’ll fight pirates on a ship; this can be fun, but literally all you do to defeat the enemies is waggle the right stick.
The co-op mode – which can be played in singleplayer too, but we’ll call it the co-op mode – is where you’ll find the most enjoyment in the game and it’s actually quite a nice little game in itself. Even though it’s only three or so hours long there’s a good number of levels, nearly all of which feature fun platforming with some brilliant ideas that the story mode couldn’t even come close to. This mode is bizarrely set inside Haddock’s mind, in a dream form, so some of the more wacky mechanics can be explained away, such as upside down levels or giant pirates.
In this mode, there are many characters and costumes to choose from. Each character has a unique skill: Captain Haddock can punch down walls, Tintin has a grappling hook, Francis Haddock – being a ghost – can enter paintings, and to unlock all of the items you’ll need to revisit levels after unlocking all of the characters. There’s lots to collect, here – enemies drop coins and treasures are hidden throughout the levels. It’s about fifty times better than the shoddy story mode; even the sidecar missions are fun when there’s the stuff to collect. There’s a few boss battles, too, which work really well, although they’re similar in design.
So, if you’re looking for a fun experience with The Adventures of Tintin, I’d recommend skipping the story and going straight into the secondary mode – the ideas are actually executed well here, so much so that it feels that it has been made by a different, much better, developer; it just shows you how much a film’s plotline can ruin a perfectly fun game.
Finally, there’s the challenge mode. These challenges range from fun to tedious and are based on some of the sections in the main game; there’s plane ones, there’s sidecar ones and there’s the swordfighting ones. All of these challenges can be played with Move, and it’s good to see a developer make use of the controller. The plane challenges, whilst a little better than the flying sections in the story mode, stay below average; there are three variations – one which you fly through rings and take a picture, one which resembles a dogfight and another that’s a capture the flag style game.
Visually, this is about as good as it gets.
Visually, I don’t think Tintin even has what you would call modern graphics. I mean, there are flat colours across environments and there’s definitely something there, but – with no exaggeration – I’ve seen iPhone games that look better than this and it’s really not acceptable when we’ve got games as beautiful as Uncharted. Even without the incredible CGI that’s involved in the film itself, the graphics for this game are some of the most disappointing this generation. The sound, however, is quite good – the voice acting is great and the music works well, Captain Haddock’s insults in particular are fantastic.
- Platforming sections, whilst simple, are enjoyable.
- The secondary, co-op mode is definitely good.
- Some of the challenges are fun.
- Looks shockingly bad.
- Feels like a downloadable game.
- The story skips from here to there without transitions and feels broken.
- Can get very repetitive.
- Third person sections are generally rubbish.
Tintin, with some more work and a lot less movie tie-in, could have been a robust downloadable title. If it had just been six or so hours of the co-op mode, with enough variation to carry it through, I would have enjoyed it much more and it would be above average. Instead, half of it is a horrid movie tie-in and the other half is a brilliant platformer and some decent challenges on the side. It’s all very charming, yet it’s all very repetitive and some parts are very dull.
You can see they’ve really tried to make a great platformer with the co-op mode, and some of the ideas in there are absolutely brilliant; but that’s less than a third of an otherwise disappointing game that shouldn’t have ever been a full disc release, needed to look a lot better and had to be consistently good, rather than just fun in the platforming sections.